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Full text of "Rock Valley College student local history research, Fall 2002"

Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2013 



http://archive.org/details/rockvalleycolle22na 



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Tawnya Mayor 
November 26, 2002 
English 101, Section RRM 

A Newfound Treasure 

The house at 428 North First Street has been many things to many 
people over the years. Once the home of George H. Dennett and now the 
offices of M.E.L.D., it has remained the same, changing slightly to 
accommodate the needs of a modem era. Built in the heart of a growing 
city, the home overflows with charm and is a grand reminder of the past. 

The 1 800s was a time of growth for Rockford. Its population and 
industrialization more than doubled during this time. In 1 85 1, the 
modernized Rockford Water Power Company took over and started 
construction on a new dam. In 1 853, the dam was completed and provided 
the growing city with adequate water power and "...thereby paving the 
way to make Rockford into a key industrial city "(Nelson "City Bom in 
1852"). 

In 1 852, the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad was introduced to 
the newly declared city of Rockford. The first terminal was located on the 
south east side of the river, between Kishwaukee and South Fourth Street. 
The railroad was one of the greatest additions to the city, bringing with it 
new jobs, new settlers, and new dreams (Nelson"City Bom in 1 852"). 

Along with the water power company and the expanding railroad, 
the Manny reaper was a major contributor to the city's growth. The Manny 
reaper, a harvesting machine, reduced the labor and cost of farming and 
increased the production capabilities of the everyday farmer. Before the 
reaper, the farmers used cradles and manually harvested their fields, and 
with a full day of work could harvest three acres of grain per day. With the 



Mayor 2 

Manny reaper mechanizing the farming industry, the average fanner 
increased their harvesting capacity to 15 acres per day. The increase in 
production and harvesting helped make Rockford one of the country's 
main producers of wheat and flour (Nelson/'Manny Invents Reaper"). 

During the 1 800s, the city of Rockford grew, expanding from 2,563 in 
1852, to 23,584 in 1880 (Nelson/'City Bom in 1852"). With all the new 
settlers in the area many homes were built. This included the home at 428 
North First Street. The origin of the house is unknown but George H. 
Dennett and wife, Climenia, are the first know occupants of the house. 

George Dennett was a businessman, who dreamed of owning his 
own business. With his dream in mind, he moved across the country, from 
New Hampshire, to Rockford, with his wife, Climenia, and opened a dry 
goods establishment. Wanting to live near his business, the Big 2 Store, 
located at 4 10 East State Street, he moved into the residence at 428 North 
First Street and called it home. Mr. Dennett and wife Climenia lived in the 
home from 1856 to 1920. After Mr. Dennett died, in 1915, his wife, Climenia, 
continued to live in the home until 1 920. 

The home was owned by several other families over the next few 
years. Gust Flodell owned the home from 1920 to 1923. Joseph Lundahl 
owned the home from 1 923 to 1 93 1 . Other than the original owners, Frank 
E. Jones and family, are the longest known occupants of the house. 
Occupying the home from 1 93 1 to 1 96 1 . After Mr. Jones' death in 1 94 1 , his 
wife, Emma Jones, continued to live in the home. In 1 96 1, Emma Jones was 
forced to sell the home, because of her old age and inability to care for the 
home. Sadly, she sold the home to Charles A. Williamson who owned the 
property from 1961 to 1973. In 1961, Robert A. Wiegers purchased the 
home and maintained residence with his wife, Margaret. Margaret Wiegers 



Mayor 3 

was the first resident to use the home as a place of business. Mrs. Wiegers 
operated an antique and decorating business from the home. Her business 
was known as "Prairie House". In 1 973, the home was sold to First National 
Bank and Trust and remained unoccupied until 1 988. In 1 988, the home 
was purchased by Rod Gust af son. Rod Gust af son restored and updated the 
home, and used the home as the main office for his architectural firm, PG 
Architects. In 1992, the home was sold and used as the main office for 
Rockford M.E.L.D. M.E.L.D., or Mothers Establishing Life's Direction are the 
current occupants of the house and have been an active part of the 
Rockford community. The organization prepares teen mothers for the 
demands of motherhood and provides them with skills that will help them 
succeed in life. 

The home has a unique and charming style. Built in 1856, it is 
reminiscent of the Italian Villa style of home that was popularized on the 
east coast by architect A. J. Downing. The home is characterized by its 
irregular shape, unique molding, and tower or campanile. 

The exterior of the home has remained about the same with the 
passage of time. The base of the home is comprised of quarried limestone 
pieces that have been carefully pieced together, and the exterior walls of 
the home are made out of a refreshing, cream colored brick. 

The home has as irregular shape. Comprised of three separate units, 
the tower rests in the center with the larger of the two units projecting 
slightly in front of the tower, and the smaller second unit extending behind 
it. 

The larger, protruding unit is the most decorative part of the home. 
There are many windows on this part of the home. The windows progress 
downward gaining not only in size, but in number. Topping this procession 



Mayor 5 

onto the veranda. The veranda was covered and laced with the same 
ornate verge-board that covers both the roof and porch. 

There have been a few changes to the exterior of the home. The front 
porch was once small and cement. In the early 1990s, M.E.L.D. replaced 
the broken porch with a large, wood porch. The small concrete walkway, 
leading to the porch, was replaced with a large, old fashioned brick path, 
and a modem lightpole was placed in the center allowing ample light to 
shine on the jagged walkway. A waist high hedge runs along the north 
side of the walkway, up against the triple bay window, and around the side 
of the house leading to the back. 

The back of the house has seen the biggest change. The backyard 
was replaced with a blacktop parking lot. A brick walkway was installed, 
and leads to the basement door, and is surrounded by a landscaped terrace. 
The veranda, that was once the focal point of the backside of the house, no 
longer exists. All that remains are the stained bricks and holes where it 
once connected to the house. 

The interior of the home is classic Italian Villa style. The lower level 
of the home contains two large rooms on both sides of the staircase. As a 
residence, the lower level, or first floor, consisted of a dining room and 
sitting room on one side, and a living room/library on the other side of the 
staircase. The living room/library was the grandest of the two rooms. 
Larger is width, it also contained a fireplace and the grand triple bay 
window. Currently, the lower level is a combination of offices divided by 
glass partitions. The larger room with the fireplace and triple bay window 
is now a large meeting room. 

The upper level, or second floor, of the home originally contained a 
large, open hallway with three rooms on one side and two larger rooms on 



Mayor 6 

the other. When the home was a residence, these large rooms were 
bedrooms. At the top of the stairs, the rooms to the right included two 
bedrooms and a bathroom. The rooms to the left of the staircase were used 
as a master bedroom and an attached nursery. As time passed and the 
home's function changed, so did the use of its rooms. The upper level of the 
home is now two separate offices, used by M.RL.D.'s many different 
employees. The only major change on the upper level is the updated 
restroom. It was moved across the hall and replaced the nursery. The 
remodeled restroom includes new plumbing and fixtures, and newly 
painted walls. 

In the second floor hallway there is a door which leads to the attic 
and the heart of the home. Behind the door, the true nature of the home can 
be seen. The walls and floors are made of a solid wood. The wood appears 
to be brown and dirty, but is really just colored by the aging of the wood. 

The tower's staircase is in the attic. The once old, dirty, wooden 
staircase has been covered with a light-colored carpet and leads up to the 
highest point of the house. The small, square room has been painted white, 
and the floor is covered with the same light colored carpet. There are four 
small windows there. Each window faces out in a different direction north, 
south, east, and west, allowing a 360-degree view of the surrounding 
neighborhood. 

In the basement quite a few changes have been made. The 
basement once contained a large kitchen and a storage area. In 1963, the 
owners, PG Architects, remodeled the kitchen giving it a new look and 
divided the storage area into smaller rooms. Currently, the basement is 
being used as additional offices for M.E.L.D. and all that remains of the 



. 


















Mayor 7 

kitchen is a small refrigerator and a few cabinets and counter tops(R. 
Gustafson 2002). 

With the passage of time, the house has undergone a few changes 
that were necessary to its modem day owners. With the invention of 
electricity, the home was updated and the lights that were once powered 
by gas became powered by electricity. In the 1 980s when the home was 
owned by PG Architects, it was both restored and remodeled. The lighting 
in the home underwent a major change. The lighting fixtures, once small 
and decorative, were replaced by larger halogen lights. In the large dining 
room or meeting room the curved ceiling was remodeled and now includes 
a large, decorative, dropped lighting system that was more functional to 
the architects (R. Gustafson 2002). 

Although the home has been remodeled, it has also been restored 
and a few charming, old world reminders still exist. The interior of the 
home still contains the original woodwork and intricate moldings. The 
staircase's handrail appears handmade and the intricate molding on it 
matches the exterior's verge-board. In the basement, the door leading 
outside, contains an antique doorbell, that must be turned like a key, and 
lets out a single ring. In the kitchen there is a large "window". Current 
occupant, Karen Tilly, believes that it " was once used as a milk passage." 
On the opposite side of the home, in a storage room there is a "window" 
that " is believed to be an old coal chute.", also said by Karen Tilly. 

In this writer's opinion the most charming part of the house is 
outside. In the front yard, near the modem curb, there is an old, limestone 
block with a rusty, cast iron loop. This solid, limestone block was once use 
as a carriage and horse hold for the owners and their guests. This piece of 



Mayor 8 

the house truly shows a contrast between old and new, modern and 
antique. 

This writer has spoken to some of the previous occupants and 
surrounding neighbors, and they all had great things to say about the 
home. Both Kurt and Sarah Bell, neighbors, agreed. " The house is very 
beautiful. It was built around the same time as ours, ...being so close in 
design and both placed so nicely at the corners they compliment each 
other." said Sarah Bell. Kurt Bell also added, " For awhile there the home 
was not being kept up, but it has been restored and it looks nice now." Rod 
Gustafson, the previous owner, architect, and restaurateur, said, " I loved 
the look of that house the first time that I saw it." He also said, "When we 
moved our offices to the residence we needed to give it a lot of TLC, but it 
was well worth it. The house has a lot of space and was well built. We were 
there for many years, and I enjoyed working out of that location." 

Known to only a few, this old world treasure rests gracefully in the 
eye of a hectic, modem city. Built in the late 1 800s, this home has 
withstood the test of time. With a century behind and a new millennium 
still ahead the home retains its historic charm while still meeting the 
needs of its current family. If these walls could talk, what new untold 
stories would they share? 



Works Cited 

Bell. Kurt. Personal Interview. October 2002. 

Bell. Sarah. Personal Interview. October 2002. 

Bonne, Mark. Rockford Magazine. Fall 1996. 

Downing, A. J. Cottage Residences. 

George H. Dennett House." Building Permit. City Hall. 

"George H. Dennett." Transfer of Title. Winnebago County. Rockford. Illinois. 

Gregory. Ginny. Personal Interview.2002. 

Gustafson Rod. Personal Interview. September 2002. 

"Homes Magazine." Rockford Public Library. Local History Room. 1983. 

"M.E.L.D. House." Building Permit. City Hall. 

Nelson, Herman G. "Rockford History: City Bom In 1852." The Sunday 

Morning Star. Rockford Public Library. Local History Room. 
Nelson, Herman G. "Rockford History: Manny Invents Reaper." The Sunday 

Morning Star. Rockford Public Library. Local History Room. 
Nelson, Herman G. "Rockford History: Answer Call to War." The Sunday 

Morning Star. Rockford Public Library. Local History Room. 
Nelson, Herman G. "Rockford History: Booming City in 1800's." The Sunday 

Morning Star. Rockford Public Library. Local History Room. 
Nelson Herman G. " Rockford History: Start Furniture Plants." The Sunday 

Morning Star. Rockford Public Library. Local History Room. 
Tilly, Karen. Personal Interview. 2002. 
Van Vechten. State Inventory of Historic Landmarks . Rockford Historic 

Preservation Comission. Rockford. Illinois. 1981. 
Wyatt, Craig. "Rockford's Lady Ghost* Surfaces Again." Rockford Register 

Star 15 January 1974. 



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Community Or*ek>pmenl 
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Jr.' Condition I(|xceVler^ Good, Fair, Deteriorated ^^^^^^4^4=^. 

5< v t? " t}fpe: Res iderTETaTTS ingle, 2-Family,(Jpt7^ Rowhouse,*^^/ — lZIZ_I2L_ 

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-materials: Building: Frame, (BfjcB^tone, — 

Foundation: Brick ,Cj>tone) Poured, 

coioris): h\i\ bulk- ooloxfMf) Apr\0l 



other huiSdimas: JJM5 

/»ffO/ : Mansard. (g^e^Gambrel. Hip. Flat, 

roo/ 'materials: \&\z>^ d^^k\m\- &\\M\fs? 

poors: S^S I 555 \7 

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of \h^JG^^...^^.L^^^/^trL^..... y County of..S^-<^<rw&^?^^ and State of Q£-<"? ^ <. -. -«-<.^iS... 



party of the^iirst part, and ^^^i^t...OjA^€<>^^^££^. 



of i\i<iZC/?,^^.....^..C^r.c,A<4:tr:^J. County of ..^^^X^^-^-^r :...ar,.d State oi..OA^^- a-i^S-fL 

\ party of the ^econa part, WITNESSETH, That said party of the first part, in wmsidetation of the sum of ($ /■ i£rr?... • 

jL / .^y-UL.-....^^.^f-^C<^ s ^-:^.. : - 

to rfrLe./iS.. in hand paid, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, ha/?/ granted, bargained, sold, conveyed and confirmed, and 

by th"se presents do..t/<^. grant, bargain, sell, convey and confirm unto said party of the second part, and to. Z^f^i^. heirs and assign;;, 

FOREVER, all..7^k^ 2-£_- parcel' of land, described as follows, to wit: 

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(Subject, however, to all legal highways upon or across said premises); situate inZi^..c^c^.^^C^r^/^^<? : *f....County of Winnebago and 
State of Illinois; hereby releasing and waiving all rights under and by virtue of the Homestead "Exemption Iaws of this State, TO HAVE AND 

TO HOLD the same, with the appurtenances, unto said party of the second part, *~&<!*v heirs and assigns forever. 

And said part;/ of the first part, ioTMe^^L&£.4- and *~h.e^tS heirs, executors and administrators, d^7&>covenant and agree to and 

with said party of the second part ,.r^v*x<w ".. heirs and assigns, thati'.4&&e*J<<j well seized of the above described premises as of a good 

and indefeasible inheritance in the law in fee simple, and that the same are clear of all liens, claims and incumbrances whatsoever,. 

...and of all taxes and assessments for the zz _ _ _ _ _ past years, 

_ _ _ and that -<2-^-C-<- .-• will Forever Warrant and Defend the same. 



IN WITNESS WHEREOF, Said party of the first part ha^v hereunto set . ~£~zX/.., hand and seal ... , on the day and year first 

above written. , . 

EXEC,™ IN PRESENCE OF \ ^U~^~^ &}< &*~~*tt [SEAL] 

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I STATE §Y..?>J2£&>-^^-i-*>~~> ) _ I, .. (C^S^ . Jk/^^^t^r— •■ - - a Notary Public in and for said 

^^^^^^^^rr.....»ua<rx-<^^r-C^'. ) County, .. ^.___ UK . _do heret;'- certify that _ 

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— -..-:■ ."_ personally ltnown to me to be the same persoa 

whose name.....-<t-<^ subscribed to the foregoing instrument .t??2<<z^./r>r^i<cz^^^..^c-^<l J e^ ^s^-s^t^^xL „_„.... 

appeared before me this day in person, and acknowledged that.. -i2^£_a_ signed, sealed and delivered the said instrument as ~£L&*a . ■:. 

free and voluntary act _..: - _.... - _. for the uses and purposes therein set forth. 

including the release and waiver of the right of homestead. 






Given under my hand and Notarial seal at...\^A:.^ryz^r£i^^>^r<~^. L&&<&*fte£. 



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George H. Dennett House: Front View(top) & Back View(bottom) 





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Inside view of triple bay window. 




Fireplace in same room 
as triple bay window. 



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Magic" Door leading to veranda. Also shows where it once attached to the house. 




Limestone Post in front yard. 




A Mansion On A Hill 



The Muller-Pinehurst Mansion Story 

Zach Pitney 
English Composition, Rock Valley College 



Fall 2002 





















'. 



" 









Pitney- 1 



Zach Pitney 
Professor Scott Fisher 
English 101 (RRM) 
November 26, 2002 



A Mansion On A Hill 



If buildings and walls could only tell stories what would they say? More 
importantly, what would the Muller Pinehurst Mansion say? Its limestone walls are still 
strong after more than a hundred years of weathering. With constant changes it has 
undergone, the various people that have owned it, this place would have a million stories 
to tell. So here are some interesting things that if the walls could talk they would tell us. 

Before the mansion, there was not too much on the southwest side of Rockford. 
The usual field, stream, wild animals were all that inhabited this piece of land now 
known as the corner of Montague and Pierpont. 

The Sauk and Fox Indians had just been driven out of Rock River Valley by 
federal troops in 1 832, so that is the only previous record of inhabitants in this area. 
( Cunningham 2) The push of people moving and settling the West was now catching on 
like wildfire, but along with expansion came growing pains. The expansion west caused 
some of the saddest times in American history with the driving out of Indians from land 
that was originally theirs. 

Shepherd Leach was one of the first settlers in the Rockford area. He moved here 
with only one friend, D.S Pinfield, a childhood friend back from his home in Vermont. 
These two men started a retail hardware trade that grew and created such a good profit 
the men were able to purchase 2,000 acres southwest of Rockford. ( Boyden 18) As time 
passed, Shepherd Leach realized more and more that farming was what he really wanted 












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Pitney-2 

to do. So Shepherd set up a claim shack on the land that he had co-purchased, which now 
includes Muller Pinehurst Dairy, Montague Rd. and stretches all the way to the Rock 
River. Shepherd eventually came to own all the land and become a very successful 
sheep farmer. Because of his good fortune, Shepherd was able to build the large, 
limestone farm mansion, surrounded by the hand - built limestone fence, which known 
today as the Muller Pinehurst Mansion. (18). Also, these prosperous times allowed him to 
keep in touch with one of his close friends, Abraham Lincoln. As evidenced in 
Shepherd's journals, he and Mr. Lincoln wrote back and forth quite often (Boyden, E - 
Mail). The house was built by using lumber that was brought in from Chicago by ox. 
Shepherd traded three loads of grain for each load of lumber (18). The limestone walls 
and fence were also all built by hand in 1850 (Boyden, E - Mail). There were also three 
farmhand houses in the back, which were built during this time as well, and are still 
standing to this day. The house was built between 1 839 and 1 840. During this time, 
Shepherd lived in his claim shack. In 1 848, Shepherd Leach married Phoebe Allen from 
back east, and had five daughters, with one dying when she was a child (18). 

When Shepherd Leach's wife died, he moved away and sold the house and the 
property to a group called the Martin Bros. After the Martin Bros, owned the house and 
land, they then sold it to a family named the Brantinghams. The Brantinghams then sold 
it to Hap Powell, who was the part owner of the Muller Pinehurst Dairy (Boyden, E - 
Mail). The Powells are the ones who used to own the land that is now Muller Pinehurst 
Dairy across Montague Rd. The Powells also added the two, grain elevator towers that 
look like castle towers one can see when passing by on Montague Rd. The Powells 
owned the house during the Mid - 1970's and Early 1980's 



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Pitney-3 

The Powells sold the house and land to an Italian family who currently own the 
house, and according to Kim Boyden (Shepherd Leach's granddaughter) will not tell 
anybody their name and will not sell the house. The only person who has contact with 
this family is the farm manager (Martin Goodrich) because this family will not speak to 
anyone. When they originally purchased the house, however, the family requested that 
the upstairs bedroom always be open and ready in case a member of the family wanted to 
come and stay in America. There is one story, of a girl that was part of the family that 
owned the house. When she stayed there she made the farmers mad incessantly with her 
annoyance and mischievousness. She was "lovingly" called "The Can Tessa" which 
shows the true feelings that the people that live here have for this family. The house is 
now currently being lived in as a rental property and the farmland is also rented. (Karol 
Rosher, Personal Interview). 

If driving by the house during the fall last year, or driving by years before, the site 
to see would have seen a glorious, big old barn that has now been destroyed. It is sad to 
see something like that, something that even that part of the house this writer got to see, 
leave history in a heap of wood. Also seeing some things such as a new wooden fence in 
the front that never belonged there in the first place is disheartening. In that spot there 
used to sit a part of the large limestone fence that went all the way around the house and 
some of the property that it sits on. This has now been knocked away for the sake of 
progress, and a highway department that says it is necessary for Montague Rd. to be 
widened. People do not know, however, that the road that we know as Montague used to 
be called affectionately by Rockfordians "Leach Ln" (even though that was never really 
the road's official name) (Boyden, Telephone Interview). 



■ 









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Pitney-4 

There was also at one time a fountain that flowed water in the middle of the 
driveway. The road leading up to the house has one side to come in and another to leave 
going down the other side, and the fountain was in the middle. Today, there is a well 
there and no outward sign at all that a fountain was there (Boyden, Telephone Interview). 

There used to also be a water reservoir in the front of the house that was made 
into a concrete pond. The interviewee remembers this by saying "there were always 
ducks and geese in there." That is the only part of the property that is no longer standing 
with the rest of the things mentioned (Boyden, Telephone Interview). 

Another thing that is very interesting is there is a road that runs by the house 
called Export Rd. It used to be called Rose Rd. and it used to connect all the way to 
Simpson Rd. until the bypass was built and the road was blocked off (Boyden, 
Telephone Interview). This house has more stories than one could tell, which is why it is 
sad that Winnebago County might possibly want to tear the house down. They have 
already started. A couple of years ago a front part of the historic limestone wall was 
knocked out without permission, by the county. 

Kim Boyden lives in Byron and is working very hard to keep this standing piece 
of history around for future generations to know about. The clients who currently live in 
the house are trying to negotiate with the Italian family about the purchase of the house. 
The efforts, however, seem in vain as no one even knows this family name. Kim Boyden 
says this about these changes that have affected her: "The wall coming down was very 
disappointing, and not necessary especially since they took the stone and used it for the 
bedrock for the new Harrison Ave. extension road project. Also, the barn would still be 
there if it would have had a new roof put on it ten or fifteen years ago. Before the 






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Pitney-5 

bulldozer came and tore it down, me and my husband went in and took off one of the 
barn doors, and it is still beautiful and in great shape" (Boyden Telephone Interview). 

There are few things that have stayed the same for this house, or for the 
interviewee, except the memories that it holds. She says "When the Powells owned it 
after I had found out that Shepherd Leach was my grandfather, we delivered Christmas 
cookies to them every year. I always enjoyed that because I got to go the house, and it 
was just something special that I got to do every year. Since I have found the journals of 
my grandfather I have been fascinated with everything. It so discouraging to see 
everything go, and sooner or later the old bulldozer is going to come" (Boyden 
Telephone Interview). The people that now live in the house are well liked and are 
hoping to buy the house from the Italian family that owns it. Kim Boyden says "the 
people now there are great, but they would have to spend a fortune for the upkeep. The 
cost would be around $50,000 dollars to get the house back to how it used to be. The 
family that lives there now cannot do anything about it though since they do not own it" 
(Boyden, Telephone Interview). 

Too many historic things are lost everyday for the sake of progress, but should be 
left alone in peace, and many people feel the same as the family trying to save it. With 
tools and knowledge and finding people that care, the County hopefully will be able to 
see how historic and important that this house was and still is. This house means so 
many things to so many people, as evidenced by the living granddaughter. The people 
that live in the house now, Chris Isonhart and Karol Rosher would love nothing more 
than to buy the house, fix it up and keep their family there. 
























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Pitney-6 

Rockford in and of itself throws many things to the wayside, including history. 
The city is not all to blame though. We as citizens have not taken enough time ourselves 
to learn and educate ourselves and future generations about Rockford history. The writer 
has learned much from this and even feels a personal connection. So get out, study and 
enjoy Rockford history, before you have to read about what used to be here through a 
newspaper. 






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fered for sale as a continuing 
with all improvements. 

The farm is also remarkabl' 
for investment or for immediate 
It is right at the exit ramp front 
pass to Montague Road, a mail 
into Rockford. It has long fror 
roads, and also on Ogilby Road 
Muller-Pinehurst Dairy plant, w 
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access. 

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park, a corporate office park, < 
factoring center. Electrical pc 
sewer are on the property. Tv 
now take care of all farm need: 
available a short way down r 
Ogilby Roads. 

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activities, adapting farm buildin 
more horses, indoor tennis, h 
social and child care centers, 
pond, now used to raise du< 
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Because Pinehurst Farm is operated as a 
profit business, a new owner could continue 
this while holding the land for further ap- 
preciation, or developing several sections 
over a number of years. The handsome old 
farmhouse makes a charming home. It has very 
protective landscaping, featuring large trees 
including Junipers originally brought years 
ago from China. The main section of the house 
was built in 1837 of lumber hauled by oxen 
from Chicago; wings were added in 1870 and 
1889, and it now has 10 rooms (5 bedrooms) 
and 3% baths. 

There are 3 tenant houses and about a dozen 
farm buildings, all in excellent condition. Ex- 
cept for the building area, the entire acreage 
is tillable, producing as high as 135 bushels of 
corn per acre. 

This region west of the city retains its coun- 
try atmosphere, and yet is one of the few re- 
maining large parcels this close to the city 
that is suitable for a carefully planned and en- 
gineered development. The proximity of Rte. 
20 By-pass gives easy access to nearby shop- 
ping centers and the vast recreationlands of 
northern Illinois and Wisconsin. 

Rockford, with a metropolitan area popula- 
tion of 272,063, has a most important indus- 
trial position. It ranks as the second largest 
machine tool center in the world, and the 
largest fastener and screw products manufac- 
turer in the U.S. The city's 575 industrial plants 
produce a diversified list of products shipped 
throughout the world, and establish a progres- 
sive atmosphere contributing to Rockford's 
steady growth. 



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OFFERED AT $930,000 

Equipment and livestock available 
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TABLE OF FACTS 

LOCATION: Rockford, Winnebago County, Illinois. 
Important industrial center, over 6,000 diversified products; 
trading center for over 600,000 pop. Excellent school 
system, including Rockford College, Rock Valley College. 
Good golf courses, many recreational and cultural features. 
Chicago, 75 miles. Beloit, Wis., 20 miles. Freeport, 25 miles. 

ZONING: Agricultural. 

PROPERTY: Approx. 310 acres. Approx. 295 tillable; 
balance in bldg. area. Gently rolling, all highly improved. 
Approx. 210 acres in corn, yielding up to 135 bu. per acre; 
balance in hay, oats, suddex, and pasture. Completely 
fenced and cross-fenced. 

ROAD FRONTAGE: Rte. 20 By-pass 
(west boundary) Approx. 4224 Ft. 

Montague Road 

(northwest boundary) Approx. 1584 Ft. 

Ogilby Road (north boundary) Appr?x. 900 Ft. 

Private drive of tar and gravel or concrete to all build- 
ings; large parking area. 

WATER: Two Wells with 17,000-gal. Storage Tank pro- 
vides water for entire farm. Large Duck Pond at entrance, 
well secluded by trees and bushes. 

UTILITIES: Electric lines to all buildings. City sewer 
through east section to Muller-Pinehurst Dairy. City water 
lines at Michigan Ave. approx. 1/3 mile. 

RESIDENTIAL GROUNDS: Encircled by stone wall built 
about 145 years ago. All beautifully landscaped, fountain, 
broad lawns, maples, various evergreens, seaside pine 
(unusual in this region), junipers brought from China in 
1914. Rear barbecue area. 

RESIDENCE: 10 rooms (5 bedrooms, 3% baths). Approx. 
3500 sq. ft. Built 1837, wings added in later years. Stone 
and frame construction, shingle roof. Extensive moderni- 
zation with care for architectural authenticity; new plumb- 
ing, new electrical service, 3-zone oil-fired hot water 
heating system. 1,000-gal. oil storage tank. 80-gal. electric 
water heater. Water softener. Pressure tank. Septic system. 

1ST FLOOR: Screened Porch, cement floor, goes around 
northeast corner of house. LIVING ROOM (18' x 36'), 
carpeted, fireplace, window A/C unit. SITTING ROOM 
(18' x 15'), lovely casual, relaxing room; rich cherry wood>! 
bought particularly for this room, milled and cut foSj 
walls, floor, bookshelves; wide picture window. DINING* 
ROOM (18' x 15'), carpeted, wallpaper, window A/C unit." 
KITCHEN (21' x 12'). beautiful pine paneling, tile floor, 
Breakfast Nook. Enclosed Porch (2V x 16'), windows on 3 
sides, pine-paneled walls and ceiling, tile floor. Master 
BEDROOM (21' x 15'), carpeted, wallpaper; Dressing 
Room; Bath, ceramic tile. 

2ND FLOOR: Solid oak floor throughout. Hall, exhaust 
fan providing excellent ventilation for house. Three BED- 
ROOMS (15' x 18', 21' x 18', 10' x 18'). Hall Bath, ceramic 
tile. BEDROOM (24' x 18'); adjoining Bath. 

BASEMENT: Stone walls, hand-hewn beams and joists. 
Half Bath. 

Detached 5-car GARAGE (66' x 24'). STORAGE BLDC. 
OUTBUILDINGS (All in very good condition) 

1. Stucco FARM OFFICE/STORAGE BUILDING (28' x 
20'). 

2. Stucco BARN (50' x 36'!, 2-story, concrete floor, 3 
pens, 4 box stalls. 

3. Frame GRANARY (50' x 30'). 2-Story, grinder, 12 bins. 

4. Concrete block FARROWING HOUSE (60' x 24'), 12 
pens, fenced 12' x 50' concrete areas on both sides. 

5. Frame HOG HOUSE (60' x 30'). 

6. MACHINE/EQUIPMENT BLDG. (60' x 50'), 
floor. 

7. MACHINE/EQUIPMENT BLDG. (85' x 60'), 
floor: Work Shop, furnace, gas storage tank. 

8. Stucco BARN and MILK HOUSE (130' x 



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1. Two metal GRANARIES, 20,000 bu 
has gas dryer. 

TENANT HOUSE #1 : 2-story stucco, 3 bedrooms 



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capacity; 1 unit 

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Works Cited 

Boyden, Kim. "We're 150" Rockford Register Star 
9 June. 2002, Early Families P. 18. 

Boyden, Kim. E - Mail to author. 6 October, 2002. 

Boyden, Kim. Telephone Interview. 31 October, 2002. 

Cunningham, Pat. "We're 150" Rockford Register Star 
9 June. 2002, Pre-1850's P.2. 

Rosher, Karol. Personal Interview. 9 September, 2002. 



Highly Improved 3 10- Acre Dairy Farm. 

Photographer and paper unknown. Personal photo from Kim Boyden. 



Public Sale, Shepherd Leach Estate. Rockford IL. 

Public Sign. Date of sign unknown. Acquired from Kim Boyden. 



Pinehurst Farm - A Showplace Operation. 

Photographer and date unknown. Photo from when the Powells sold the house. 
Personal photo from Kim Boyden. 



Shepherd Leach Estate front view. 

Personal photo from Kim Boyden. Circa 1870's. 



The Front of the House as it Stands Today. 



Photo by Scott Fisher. 21 October 2002. 




Northwest from Parking Lot 
(Photo c/o Judy Gambrel) 



National Lock, The Heart of Rockford 

Mark Atkinson 

English Composition, Rock Valley College 

Fall 2002 






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Mark Atkinson 
English 101 NA 
9 December 2002 



The National Lock building is an amazing structure that still stands 
strong. Strong enough that many companies still utilize its great space. The 
building is extremely old, but it is constantly being renovated. It is amazing that 
its massive weight has not cracked the foundation and sent the building 
tumbling down. Exciting facts like the massive machine "Big Bertha" that once 
covered three-thousand square feet of the sixth floor are but some of the best 
stories to read about. However, its formation, and how it all began is even more 
intriguing. The building is six stories tall, and its mass covers two city blocks. 
The employee parking lot is one entire city block. This large structure was once 
part of Rockford's workforce. Its mass alone is remarkable enough to welcome 
history buffs. Yet, there is much more to learn about the building. 

Rockford started out as a furniture building town. From the time the 
business was formed in 1903 by three Swedish settlers, F.G. Hogland, P.A. 
Peterson, and Levin Faust, it has grown and changed in many ways. Furniture 
building was the foundation of business in Rockford in the early 1900's ("In Our 
Own..."). 

The building has undergone many changes. At one time, the sound of 
rumbling trains roared in and out of the facility. Dozens of what are now vintage 
cars filled the parking lots of this once thriving company. 



Atkinson- 2 

National Lock is now owned by National Business Machines. They work 
on the building consistently on a daily basis. They are constantly upgrading the 
plumbing, electrical, and internal structures to allow companies to rent out the 
space for manufacturing and storage. Anderson Packaging, a Rockford-based 
packaging firm rents a vast amount of the space to house their packaging 
operation for Procter & Gamble (Atkinson). 

The groundskeepers are the heart and brain of the building. Everyday 
they build new walls and arteries to rejuvenate the old building, keeping it alive. 
Finding it is easy; just look for the large four-sided clock seven stories high, and 
follow these simple directions. 

Heading west on US route 20/39 Freeport, take the north 11 th Street/ 251 
exit. Drive north on 11 th Street about three miles. After crossing some railroad 
tracks, turn left onto 18 th Avenue. Continue on 18 th Avenue to a stop sign. This is 
9 th Street. The National Lock building is just ahead between 9 th Street and 7 l 
Street. When the sunlight fades away, and the street is covered in darkness, the 
building is within reach. 

The building creates a dark shadow that looms for several blocks, creating 
a partial eclipse for those standing on the side of the building opposite the sun. 
Its stature is solid and strong. During the day one hears the sound of pigeons 
fluttering in and out of the broken windows. At night it is more intense. The 
building seems to come to life. Elevators engaging and disengaging clatter loudly 
across the night sky. Bats swarm in and out of the broken windows. The lights 



Atkinson- 3 

within the building create an electrifying glow on objects outside. The windows 
are like the eyes of a vicious lion that follows a persons' every move. Walking 
around the building at night can be a little scary. The broken windows, fluttering 
pigeons and bats can send chills up and down one's spine. 

Although the building's massive size can be dark and intimidating at 
night, it sits calm and relaxed during the day. The sound of morning birds' 
whistling echoes off the surrounding buildings in the courtyard around the back 
of the building. Since the building is still in use today, it has a new and modern 
appeal mixed with its original foundation. Most of the broken windows have 
been filled in with concrete blocks and painted. Windows were needed in the 
past for ventilation. However, in the modern age, air conditioning units keep the 
building cool (Atkinson). 

One of the biggest influences to National Lock was P.A. Peterson. He was 
a highly intelligent person and a man of his word. His honesty and reputation 
made him a wealthy individual. Peterson was president of National Lock until 
his death in 1927. During his time at National Lock, he managed to develop 
relationships with many successful business owners from all around. These 
relationships led to opportunities for designing and manufacturing screws, bolts, 
and cabinet locks that would go on furniture designed by many manufacturers. 
After Peterson's death, F.G. Hogland took his seat as President of National Lock. 
P.A. Peterson was shareholder and manager of Standard (later Rockford 
Standard), Rockford Miter Box, and Hanson Clock, to name a few. He gave many 



Atkinson- 4 



contributions to several companies during some of their rough times. Some of 
the companies he purchased, others he joined as an investor (Lundin 80-81). 

The first product that National Lock produced was a cabinet lock. 
However, they also made screws, bolts, hinges, knobs, casters, aircraft 
components, and locksets. As the company grew larger, they expanded with 
many other inventions ("Big Business..."). Among one of the more interesting 
inventions was "Big Bertha." 

Big Bertha, developed by National Lock, was one of the largest single 
machines built. It covered a 3,000 square foot area. "Big Bertha" was given its 
name by Lenoard E. Weeg, the Superintendent of the finishing division. On 
January, 1954 the machine was installed. The huge machine was raised to the 
sixth floor by a giant crane. Twenty feet of an outside wall was removed in order 
to get the parts inside. Ten tons of copper was used to generate the electricity to 
power the machine from 400 horsepower of generating equipment. Big Bertha 
was a plating machine. Its purpose was to chrome plate zinc die castings. It could 
also apply a lustrous brass finish ("In Our Own.."). 

The lustrous brass parts were sought by cabinet makers from abroad. 
Handles, locks, and brass hinges were great looking hardware to fit onto the 
beautifully constructed furniture made during the early 1900s. ("Rockford's 
Largest. . ."). By the '50s and '60s National Lock was producing around 25,000 
different products ("In Our Own..."). 



Atkinson- 5 

The world was constantly changing and modernizing. Updated 
designs and modern inventions led to change in the style and appearance of 
parts. National Lock stayed at the forefront of those changes and continued to 
please their customers with their products ("In Our Own..."). 

After 1927 when P. A. Peterson retired with ill health, the company 
suffered rough times such as bank failures, legal disputes, a strike, and later the 
Depression. Eleven years later, on December 13, 1938, Frank G. Hogland died. 
A.J. Strandquist took over operations of National Lock at that time. A.J. 
Strandquist was Purchasing Agent for National Lock for several years. His 
business ties with Peoria firm Keystone Steel and Wire made it possible to re- 
build capital for the company. Mark A. Sommer, director of the Keystone firm, 
was elected Executive Vice President of National Lock. He pulled more of his 
Keystone officers in, and the company pulled itself out of recession. By 1941, 
National Lock had become one of the nation's largest suppliers to the appliance, 
automotive, and furniture industries. The upcoming war could have hurt the 
company, but instead National Lock became one of the largest manufacturer of 
aircraft screws and bolts in the United States ("Turning Back. . ."). 

In 1983, a time when the economy was striving; National Lock moved all 
of its operations to Spartanburg, South Carolina. Rockford Process Control got its 
start by buying the companies stamping and metal assemblies division. Rockford 
Process Control remains in the National Lock building today using the one-story 



Atkinson- 6 

building located at 20 th Avenue and 7 th Street just South of the very first building 
constructed in 1910 (Orr). 

Currently, the larger portions of the National Lock building are owned by 
Maury and Judy Gambrel. National Business and Industrial, located at 1922 7 th 
Street, is where their office is located. "Around eighty percent of the building is 
leased out now," Judy said in an interview. "Our next project will be to demolish 
the electric plant." Although the electric plant is part of the historical landmark, 
it is un-usable for leasing. The electric plant has no open floor space, no docks, 
and is in need of much repair. It would not appeal to anyone for rental space. She 
also mentioned the desire to make the four-faced clock functional again. "It is 
hard to find anyone to work on it" she stated (Gambrel). 

The building is a standing landmark that symbolizes some of the 
powerful businessman of Rockford's past and how their determination helped 
Rockford grow as a community. Many of the houses that were built in the past 
were constructed using a vast array of parts made by National Lock Corporation. 
Today, the building is a reminder of our past. Most people drive by the building 
unconcerned, without thought, or without the knowledge of its history. One 
must take the time out of their busy schedules to stop, look, and applaud this 
amazing structure. Behind the thousands of bricks and concrete is the still 
beating heart of what Rockford is today. 



Mark Atkinson 
English_ 101 NA 
9 December 2002 



Works Cited 
Bateman, Newton. Historical Encyclopedia Of Illinois . Chicago: Munsell, 1914. 
Bunk, John. Personal interview. 1 1 Oct. 2002. 
Gambrel, Judy. Personal interview. 26 Oct. 2002. 

Lundin W. Jon. Rockford -An Illustrated History . Chicago: American Historical, 1997. 
Orr, Kathy. "Rockford Process Control." Rockford Register Star : 21 JAN 1988. 
"Rockford's Largest Building erected." Rockford Register Star : 1 1 FEB 1946. 
"Turning Back the Clock." The Source. Winter 1955. 




P.A. Peterson 
(Photo taken from book "Rockford, Jon W. Lundin Pg.80) 




View from Sky of National Lock 
(Photo c/o Judy Gambrel) 



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Photo of Parts made by National Lock 
(Photo taken from Company Newsletter entitled "The Source" Summer 1963) 






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View from South 7 th Street 
(Photo by Mark Atkinson- 2002) 




National Lock Electrical Plant, 8 th Street and 20 th Avenue 
(Photo by Mark Atkinson - 2002) 




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The Hotel Nelson 

An Era of Grandness 
By 

Valorie Howard-Brooks 

Fall 2002 

English Composition 

Rock Valley College 




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Valorie Howard-Brooks 
English Composition 
Fall 2002 
Rock Valley College 

The Hotel Nelson- An Era of Grandness 



The Nelson Hotel no longer stands in Rockford, Illinois. The hotel was built in an 
era that no longer represents what this city stands for. There is a structure that does stand 
there now, but it is not the building that was under construction in 1892, and completed in 
1893. 

The Hotel Nelson happened upon chance. Antes Ruh and Charles S. Brantingham 
had a vision and somehow managed to scour up $12,000 to buy the vacant property that 
was located on the corners of South Main and Chestnut Streets. The two men really had 
no plans for the property; they just thought it a wise investment ("Nelson Hotel 
Purchased in 1890"). 

Rockford's immigrants were mainly from the Scandinavian countries, particularly 
Sweden. Among the new arrivals was John Nelson, who invented a knitting machine that 
revolutionized the hosiery industry. Nelson, who was bom in Sweden in 1830, came to 
Rockford in 1852. John Nelson, however, was never of vigorous health. In 1883, at the 
age of 53, he died leaving the business he started in the hands of his sons, Frithiof, 
William, Oscar, and J. Franklin Nelson. 

Colonel William Nelson, as he was known after his appointment to that rank by 
Governor Yates, continued to be active in other firms, therefore his excitement for 
business affairs increased. With his brothers, Colonel Nelson purchased the land from 
Ruh and Brantingham and started the foundation for a hotel that would be named after his 
father. 



Howard-Brooks-2 

An early advocate of the linking of the southeast end with the southwest side of 
the city, Colonel Nelson was one of the major supporters of the movement to build a 
bridge spanning the Rock River at the south edge of the city. 

The Nelson brothers believed that with the construction of the bridge, not only 
would it benefit the hotel but also the other merchants that were in the area at the time. 
Those merchants included Porters Drug Store, Levi Multhrop Dry Goods, Stewart's Dry 
Goods, and the place where all the business men met for a glass of beer was the "TiiyT 
Tracy (Rowe). 

In 1892, the construction of the Nelson Hotel began. It was a panic year and 
businesses came to a standstill. Workmen stood in soup lines; twenty-seven industries in 
Rockford went into receivership, wiping out P. A. Peterson's vast holdings. History 
repeated itself in the local election. The "A. P. A." political organization, stronger than 
ever, elected Amasa Hutchins as mayor, defeating former mayor Alfred Taggart and 
Edward Marsh. 

The Charles S. Frost Company, out of Chicago, Illinois was responsible for the 
creation of the Nelson Hotel. The cost of the entire structure was estimated at $250,000. 
There were many investors that helped with the construction of the Hotel. It appears that 
Colonel Nelson's brothers were the prime investors in the construction. 

The Nelson was the leading hotel, with 300 rooms; the structure was six stones 
high and took up the whole city block. Located on the west side in the center of the 
business district, it was convenient to assembly halls and places of amusement. It was 
modern in its appointments, with a unique coffee shop, themed named rooms, w itli the 



Howard-Brooks-3 
best food and dance music (Rowe). The fact that the hotel was located in downtown 
Rockford made it even more convenient for people to have access to. The railcars, train 
stations located nearby, allowed easier ways to go and visit the hotel. 

The hotel saw many changes from the day it first opened on October 19, 1892 
("Hotel Nelson A Social Hub For Rockford"). The hotel hosted its first visitors on the 
night of October 25, 1892 with the grand opening gala dinner that attracted people for 
miles around. The hotel's rooms were filled months before the night even happened. 
Anybody who was anybody was there. 

If the Nelson Hotel was only noted because of its guests, that would be statement 
enough. Before 1920, the Nelson hosted Presidents Roosevelt and Taft, presidential 
candidate William Jennings Bryant, General Pershing and Judge "Kenesaw Mountain" 
Landis, the commissioner of baseball, who stayed at the facility while deliberating the 
fate of the Chicago "Black" Sox players who threw the 1919 World Series in exchange 
for money from a notorious gambler. Rockford, with its reputation as a dry, moral city, 
was a perfect "mound" for Landis to preach from (Rowe). 

Many changes occurred at the Nelson over the years that it remained open. The 
first major change that occurred at the hotel was in 1901 when the north section of the 
hotel was erected. The hotel remained the same for the next 16 years. On October 1 3, 
1917, the hotel added showers and bathtubs to the already existing 200 rooms ("$400, 
000 Annex to Nelson Now Sure Thing"). On August 28, 1920, a cafe and cafeteria were 



Howard-Brooks-4 
added to the hotel. This created a few new jobs and allowed people besides the hotel's 
guests to enjoy the food that the hotel had to offer ("Nelson Cafe and Cafeteria Will Open 
Thursday"). 

The management determined that they would like to update the hotel's 
appearance and decided that the way to do that would be to take on "themes". Some of 
these rooms included the Billiard, Crystal, Jade, Grecian, and Blue rooms. When it came 
to the lobby, the planners decided on an "exotic" look. Burnt orange, sunshine yellow, 
and sea foam green were a few of the colors that graced the walls. Large plants, colorful 
cushions and carpet were placed sporadically around the room to give it the feel of a 
Grecian atmosphere ("Nelson Hotel On The Way Back"). 

The hotel had a bar, which was kindly named the Kit Kat Room (the men's way 
of calling the waitresses, "Here, kitty kitty"). The bar did some remodeling to this part of 
the hotel when the lease was handed over to a new firm ("Firm Leases Nelson Hotel"). 

The last major change to occur at the hotel was when the hotel's management 
decided to catch up with the times and have air-conditioning added. With all of the 
changes that were occurring at the hotel, more space was needed to provide adequate 
parking for the hotel's guests. On December 15, 1957, both of these were added to the 
hotel. One hundred thirty- five parking spots were made on the streets and on the 
basement floor of the hotel ("Boost for Downtown Rockford"). 

The hotel began to see a decrease in business shortly after the last of the 
remodeling was done. Downtown Rockford began to see more hotels being built due to 
had once possessed. 



Howard-Brooks-5 
The memories and recollections of Mr. Leslie P. Ware (a close family friend) 
about the hotel were not all pleasant ones (Ware Interview). Mr. Ware recalled that 
although there were people of color that were prestigious to the community and well able 
to afford to visit the hotel, no people of color were allowed to stay at the hotel. In the late 
'50s, people used to have what was called a "sit in" (an event in this particular case that 
protested the discrimination of allowing people of color to be guests of the hotel). Mr. 
Ware and the late Rev. E. H. E. Gilbert organized such an event that was aimed at the 
Nelson. The protest lasted for many hours. The barrier was finally broken when the staff 
agreed that the protestors were right and walked off the job to join them. This brought 
about a resolution and the protestors completed victory (Ware Interview). Although 
people of color were eventually allowed to stay, Mr. Ware noted, that in his opinion, the 
people of the community sort of lost respect for what the hotel represented, and that is 
when the business began to fade. He recalled coming back for a visit from his home state 
of Minnesota and attending some of the social dances that were held there for the soldiers 
of Camp Grant (Ware Interview). Volunteers from the community would often hold 
dances throughout the city for the soldiers that were stationed here in Rockford at Camp 
Grant. These dances were initially held for the soldiers, but with the soldiers befriending 
civilians, they were eventually open to the public. Mr. Ware recalls that some of the first 
dances that he attended at the hotel were those that he still carries in his memories as the 
most enjoyable fun that he had ever had (Ware Interview). 



Howard-Brooks-6 
Early in 1960, the hotel had shut its doors and remained abandoned for a few 
months. The city bought the hotel and sold or auctioned off the remaining items that 
were in the building. After that, demolition of the hotel began and finally on August 8, 
1960 the building was raised and leveled ("Nelson Coming Down"). 

The ground was cleared and the smoke settled. Smells of food still linger in the 
area due to the small cafe that sits on the corner and from the Italian restaurant that stands 
around the corner offering "lots of pasta". 

The property that was once the city's finest and grandest hotel has now become a 
parking garage for the Amcore bank that is located across the street from where the hotel 
once sat. The Nelson Hotel saw many people and changes along the years. It still 
captivates this writer's attention with stories, photographs, and memories that come from 
that time so long ago. 



Works Cited 
"$400,00 Annex to Hotel Nelson Now Sure Thing." Rockford Daily Republican. October 

13, 1917. Rockfordiana Files, Rockford Public Library. 
"Boost for Downtown Rockford. " Rockford Daily Republican. December 1 1, 1957. 

Rockfordiana Files, Rockford Public Library. 
"Firm Leases Nelson Hotel." Rockford Morning Star. July 2, 1948. Rockfordiana Files, 

Rockford Public Library. 
"Hotel Nelson A Social Hub for Rockford." Rockford Daily Republican. October 1, 

1929. Rockfordiana Files, Rockford Public Library. 
"Nelson Cafe And Cafeteria Will Open Thursday." Rockford Morning Star. August 28, 

1920. Rockfordiana Files, Rockford Public Library. 
"Nelson Coming Down — An Era Ends." Rockford Daily Republican. August 6, 1960. 

Rockfordiana Files, Rockford Public Library. 
"Nelson Hotel on Way Back." Rockford Daily Republican. November 23, 1944. 

Rockfordiana Files, Rockford Public Library. 
"Nelson Hotel Purchased in 1890." Rockford Morning Star. March 30, 1938. 

Rockfordiana Files, Rockford Public Library. 
Rowe, Ford F. Rockford Streamlined , 1834-1941, Pages 143-146. 
Ware, Leslie P. Personal interview. 1 1 October 2002. 







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Sued Broads. French Peas. 
Cutlet*, of Pheasant. Farce L' Italian. 

Cream Potatoes. 

Boned Turkey. Aspic Jelly. 



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The Nelson Hotel, Kockford's premier 
meeting local:/:': during (he early part oj 
the twentieth century, was chosen to provide 
the food, service and atmosphere for the 
celebration welcoming WW I hero General 
Pershing to the Forest City. A visit to 
Camp Grant was on the general's itinerary. 



The Good Old Days at The Old Stone School 

Kirsten Jung 

English Composition, Rock Valley College 

Fall 2002 



The Good Old Days at The Old Stone School 

"Their job is over but the one-room schools linger on in hallowed tradition, a 
multitude of new uses and the cherished memories of millions who attended them in the 
past several decades. The stronghold of learning in their day, the rural schoolhouses made 
a substantial contribution to American democracy and the growth years of the mid- 
west(Swanson)." 

One-room schoolhouses were used in the 1 700s through the 1 900s in many small 
towns. The people that lived there did not have enough money to build the bigger schools 
that the city had. Even though the schools were so small, they served their purpose: to 
educate. 

It all started in 1825, when a state law was passed providing free public schooling. 
"By 1855 another state law, the Edward's Bill, was passed making it mandatory that 
communities provide free public schools(La Ruffa)." 

At that time, "the city council of Rockford adopted an ordinance creating two 
school districts within the city limits." District # one was to be on the east side of the 
Rock River while District # two on the west. In 1857, Lincoln and Adams schools were 
the first public schools built(Espy 4). While the city was growing and expanding, the 
people in the small towns had the children still attend the one-room schools, for example, 
the Old Stone School in District 97 on Townline Rd. near Byron, Illinois. 

From 1 890 until early 1 900 the Old Stone School was filled with farm children 
from the Byron area. "The building was made of stone, hence the school's name." 
Unfortunately, it burned to the ground in 1 902, but was replaced by a wood structure a 



Jung 2 
year later("School and Hotel"). 

In 1971, the Rockford Park District moved it to the Children's Farm on Safford 
Rd. for display and educational use. Then, in 1979, it was moved again to its present site 
at Midway Village off of Guilford and Perryville in Rockford, Illinois("The Old Stone.."). 

Midway Village is a museum full of local history artifacts and has approximately 
23 buildings that were either duplicated or renovated to make the village look like it is in 
the 1900 era. In the Old Stone School, the 20 wooden childrens' desks, the teacher's 
desk near the wood-burning stove, the very limited old time library, map cases and 
blackboard that filled the one side of the wall are present. Kerosene lanterns,(because 
electricity was not used) hung on the ceiling for light and a 45-star flag hung in the corner 
of the room("Life in a .."). Since there was no electricity, there was no indoor plumbing. 
The children had to use an outhouse which was located outside(La Ruffa). 

The author visited the school and remembered the overpowering musty smell and 
scent of wood that captured the attention of age. The floors creaked as if saying 
something out loud. The wooden piano was waiting in the corner of the room for 
someone to play with it. She also remembered the feeling of portraying a "giant" while in 
the room. Since it was only one room, the furniture was scattered in a confined space so 
it looked small. She could picture the teacher in front of the classroom with her long dress 
and hair up in a bun instructing the children about history. 

"For some unknown reason directors of many rural schools had expressed a 
preference for young and unmarried women teachers as late as the era shortly before the 
World War II. It was a sort of unwritten law without an explanation^ wanson)." When 



Jung 3 
hired, the teachers had to follow these rules of conduct: (partial list) Must keep the 
classroom neat and clean, ring school bell promptly at 9 a.m.; raise the flag before school 
starts; start the fire early enough to have class warm; keep class in session until 4 p.m.; 
dresses must be of an appropriate length; bobbed hair is forbidden; and palatable water 
must be available in the class each day("Tiny School.."). The teachers did not make that 
much money. Actually, they were not guaranteed salaries. Some teachers were paid $20 
a month, which depended upon the income of the students' parents. Produce, firewood, 
room and board were also paid to the teachers(La Ruffa and Swanson). 

The school year for one-room schools were two terms. The summer term lasted 
from June to Aug. and the winter term was from Nov. to March. The reason was because 
the older children were needed at home for planting and harvesting crops. The day usually 
began at 9 a.m. and ran until 4 p.m. Children had chores when going to school. A boy 
was in charge of the wood-burning stove and sweeping the floors. Some children made 
sure water was passed out several hours during the day. And others were to make sure 
the chalkboard was washed(Ruffa). 

Grades one through eight were taught in one classroom. The teacher started 
instruction with the youngest and then gradually went up to the other grades. Reading, 
writing, arithmetic, and spelling were the subjects that were emphasized most(La Ruffa). 

"It was extremely important at the turn-of-the-century that students be given a firm 
foundation in good penmanship." Cursive writing was the only type formally taught to 
scholars("01d School Manual"). 

Education during that time gave a sense of independence for the students. "They 



1 



Jung 4 
can be free to move around and get things when needed, not having to wait. They can 
learn from each other by listening to the other classes("Life in a..")." The "Pledge of 
Allegiance" or chapters from the Bible were read usually daily. The materials that the 
children used for notebooks and pens were a little different then today's materials. For 
notebooks, students used brown wrapping paper. For pens, they used goose quills and the 
ink was made from the bark of maple trees. Most students wrote on chalkboard slates 
with double sides for taking notes, writing and figuring(Swanson). 

When a student was being bad, for example, talked out loud without permission, 
passed around notes, pulled the braids of a girl in the seat ahead, dipped the hair into the 
ink wells, or threw ink balls, he/she had to wear a triangular shaped cap that had the words 
"Dunce" on the front so the students can see. Wearing that, he/she had to sit in the corner 
of the room until the teacher decided when it was time for him/her to join the class 
again("01d Stone Manual"). 

Sharon Fowler had attended a one-room schoolhouse and said she enjoyed herself 
because she had freedom in her classroom and just had fun. She said those were the 
"good old days." She can remember when some of her classmates got in trouble and had 
to sit in the corner for awhile. She loved her teacher, so she probably did not want to 
disappoint her by getting in trouble herself. She had a class of about thirty students and 
only four in her grade. She also told the author that she remembers one of her classmates, 
Jacob, taking her friend's cap, going outside, and throwing it down the toilet in their 
outhouse! She was so mad at him for that because it was her friend and it was such a cute 
cap(Fowler). 



'■ 



Jung 5 

The students' clothes from a one-room schoolhouse were generally hand made 
from the families because lack of money. The school did have a policy with the dress; the 
girls had to wear dresses that came to just below the knee. "Many of the dresses were 
described as being tent-like garments." And the boys wore calf-length or knee pants with 
suspenders("01d Stone Manual"). It is interesting that at that time the children had to 
wear those clothes and today, children can wear usually what they want unless attending a 
private school. 

During the school day children had to take breaks. Today it is called recess. 
"Although the rural schools never had an organized physical education program with a lot 
of sit-ups, pushups, etc., the students and the teacher never lacked for exercise. They 
organized and even originated all sorts of games including such contests as: Red Light- 
Green Light, King of the Hill, Blind man's Bluff, tag football, and marbles and jacks. 
Baseball, however, was the number one sport and nearly every school had a ball diamond 
somewhere on the grounds(Swanson)." 

"The one-room schools had a vital role in every rural community, serving not only 
as a house of learning but as a convenient rallying point, a place for picnics, polling places 
and in some cases temporary quarters for church services." Spelling bees, debates, annual 
Christmas programs, or other special holidays were held there at the schools as 
well(Swanson). 

From 1700- 1900s many schools in rural America had just one room. By 1913 up 
to half of all American children were educated in 212,000 one-room schools! "But as the 
schools gained momentum, the traditional country schools almost disappeared("Tiny 



Jung 6 
Schoolhouse"). 

"Nearly all counties of every state in the Midwest are represented with the 
schoolhouses still standing as residences or other uses. Illinois has an estimated 3,000 to 
3,500 old schools still standing in one form or another(Swanson)." 

The rural one-room schools have a rightful spot in the educational history of the 
nation. "Much credit is due to the teachers who carried the torch of learning to the farm 
children on the back roads. They were a dedicated group of individuals bearing all sorts 
of trials and privations and being poorly paid while faithfully carrying on their 
duties(Swanson)." 

The Old Stone School is a great mirror of what it was like back in those times. It 
takes the person back in time if he/she had gone to one in the earlier days. Or, it is a good 
source of education for the children these days to show how it was then. 



Kirsten Jung 

Works Cited 

Espy, Charles, "History of Public Education in Winnebago County." Rockford, Illinois. 
Co 1967. 

Fowler, Sharon. Interview 8/25/02, 10/22/02. 

Jung, Kirsten. Personal experience. 

"Life in a Country School." DJG. 2/91. Midway Village archives for the Old Stone 

School. 
La Ruffa, Mary, and Willhelm, Melissa. History of the Country School. No date. 
"Midway Village." Rockford Register Star. 1 1/23/91 lc. Rockfordiana Files, Rockford, 

Public Library. 
"Old Stone School's Lesson in Living in Another Century." Rockford Register Star . 7/30 

3a. Rockfordiana Files, Rockford Public Library. 
"School and Hotel Filled with History." Rockford Register Star. 1/25/77 Rockfordiana 

Files, Rockford Public Library. 
Swanson, Lessie. "Rural One-Room Schools of Mid- America." 1976 no publisher info. 
"The Old Stone School Teacher's Manual." Midway Village, Rockford, Illinois. No date 

or author available. 
"Tiny Schoolhouses Coming Back." Rockford Register Star. 6/6/97 6c. 
"A Typical Year in a One-Room School." Rockford Register Star. 6/6/97 6c. 



JA yiSIOWBTWCj nXALIZTT) 




by: 

Vernessa A. Ward 

English Composition 

Mr. Scott Fisher 

Rock Valley College 

Fall 2002 



Ward - 1 

A Vision Being Realized 

The sanctuary is conservatively decorated with small bouquets of 
carnations, roses, and babies breathe on each pew. There are two gold 
candelabras, one on each side of the Communion table. On the table is a floral 
centerpiece with white unity candles. It is September 21, 1990, and the bride 
is preparing to walk down the long aisle to meet her future husband. Besides 
the nervousness, the future bride is thinking about how beautifully the church 
is decorated, remembering how much the church has grown, and the struggles 
the members of Pilgrim Baptist Church endured. 

The membership of Pilgrim Baptist Church overcame racism and bigotry 
to become one of the most influential African American Baptist churches in 
Rockford. Pilgrim started its meager beginning with twenty- two faithful 
members in 1917, and has grown to an active membership of over 500. 

The African American community has always believed in God. The 
community believes that prayer solves problems. The author's grandparents 
grew up in the South during the late 1890s and endured racism and abuse. 
They strived for a better life. During this time, they sought comfort through 
prayer and song (Rigsby Interview). 

Many African Americans migrated from the South to the North. They 
thought that the North was integrated and all people were treated equal. To 
their surprise, they encountered the same attitude as in the South. They were 
treated as second-class citizens in their new environment. Again, prayer was 
their motivator (Rigsby). 



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Ward - 2 



In 1917, a small black congregation founded a church called Pilgrim Rest 
Baptist Church. This was the first black Baptist church in Rockford. They 
worshiped in Grant Madison's home at 812 West Street until 1918. Reverend 
T.P. McGee, Pilgrim's first minister, encouraged the church to purchase a new 
church edifice at 846 Montague Street (Pilgrim Baptist Church Diamond 
Jubilee 3). 

Over the next two years, they continued to praise God and witness to the 
community. The membership grew and the congregation needed a new church 
home. In July 1919, they purchased a one-story church on the corner of West 
and Morgan Street from the United Brethren (Pilgrim Baptist Church Diamond 
Jubilee 4). 

Prior to the members holding service, they had to clean the grounds by 
picking up the trash, cutting and 
trimming the edges, fixing the front 
steps, washing the windows, and dusting 
and mopping the inside of the church. 
On the third Sunday of July, the 
congregation marched to their new 
home. They proudly walked down 










Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church 

Montague singing and praising God. The photo courtesy of Beulah Slaughter 

1940 

men and women wore their very best suits, dresses, and hats (Slaughter 
Interview). 



■ 



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Ward - 3 



The flash of a camera startles the bride. The bride and her brother begin 
to walk down the aisle smiling at the guest. The bride is thinking of her 
childhood minister, Reverend E.H.E. Gilbert, Sr., who was like a father to the 
bride. After the bride's father passed, the minister started to watch over the 
family by purchasing clothes, Christmas gifts, and helping with homework. 
The bride remembers how Reverend Gilbert helped the community, as well as 
the congregation. 

Reverend Gilbert rejuvenated and encouraged the church to witness to 
others and let them know how good God has been. Reverend Gilbert was a 
man and a leader with vision. He wanted the church to be the helping hand to 
the community, for all people. During the times 
when African Americans had few rights, he spoke 
out against segregation, and in doing so he 
encouraged and motivated others to do the same. 
(Slaughter). 

In 1947, the church voted to remove "Rest" 
from the name. The membership agreed and 
thereafter the church was known as Pilgrim 
Baptist Church (Pilgrim Baptist Church The 
Wilderness Way 4). The church membership continued to grow and flourished. 

Through the years, Pilgrim Baptist Church has encouraged the 
community to grow within this society. The Church has always been a 
cornerstone for African American families. During the 1950s, Martin Luther 




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Reverend E.H.E. Gilbert. Sr. 
Rockford Register Republic 
No name. 4/29/61 



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Ward - 4 



King Jr. organized several desegregation movements within his church in 
Alabama; one such movement was the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955. That 
movement led to the Montgomery Bus Company desegregating their bus line in 
December of 1956 (MLKonline.com). 

In the fall of 1958, Deacon 8b Mrs. Wright (Dorothy) Brown agreed to be 
the purchasing agent for Pilgrim Baptist Church and acquired 3.7 acres of land 
at 1703 South Central for $12,600 from John & Marie Diggs. Upon approval of 
the loan, the Browns deeded the property to the church (Pilgrim Baptist 
Church The Wilderness Way 9). Pilgrim Baptist Church rented the house to 
Margaret Hollingshed until they finalized the building plans (Hollingshed Jones 
Interview). 

The Building Committee 
contacted Mr. Charles E. Boettcher, an 
architect, to discuss their vision. Mr. 
Boettcher presented the architectural 
drawings to the Committee in December 
of 1959 (Pilgrim Baptist Church ...The 
Wilderness Way 10). They were pleased 
with the drawings. The structure was 

different, large, and overpowering. Everyone was anxious to start the project 
but the church had to get a contractor. Mr. Boettcher recommended the 
Bakken brothers (Bland Interview). 




Proposed drawing of Pilgrim Baptist Church 

By Mr. Charles E. Boettcher, Architect 

1959 



Ward - 5 



In January of 1960, O. & Ralph Bakken presented the church's Trustee 
Board with a time schedule and cost of $175,000 to build the church. The 
Pastor and the Trustee Board called an emergency church meeting to discuss 
the Bakken proposal. The Pastor presented the cost to the membership. 
Although hesitant, the members agreed to commit (Bland). It was a GO! 

In April of 1960, the County issued building permits to the church 
("Erect New ..."). The house standing on the property was demolished. The 
groundbreaking was held in April 1960 with the Honorable Mayor Ben 
Schleicher as their guest ("Haynes, Marketta..."). 

The church laid the cornerstone in September 1960. Contained in the 
cornerstone were twelve items: 1) a vial of 
oil, 2) vial of corn, 3) a measure of gold, 4) 
a bible carried in the Civil War, 5) a New 
Testament, 6) the ashes from the first 
mortgage, 7) a copy of "The Messenger, 8) 
the church paper, written in 1924, 9) a 
copy of the Crusader, 10) a copy of the 
1960 membership list of Pilgrim Baptist 
Church, 1 1) a picture of members prior to 

a communion service in September 1960, and 12) a copy of the cornerstone 
laying ceremony (Haynes). 

It was Pilgrim's hope that the new church would be completed by 
December of 1960. However, the project was not finished until March of 1961 




Pilgrim Baptist Church 

Photo courtesy of Bertha Rigsby 

1972 



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Ward - 6 

After two years of waiting, the church was done. The massive, modern 
structure cost $203,000 ("New Church Different ..."). Information on the 
reasons for the delay in completion and the cost increase could not be located. 

The bride's escort loudly says, "I do" and he kisses the bride and goes to 
sit by the bride's mother. Looking at her future husband, she is thinking how 
lucky she was to marry the man of her dreams. Reverend Steve Bland is 
standing in front of the bride and groom ready to recite the vows and she is 
thinking how she would have loved to have Reverend Gilbert perform the 
ceremony. However, he is deceased. 

Reverend Gilbert encouraged African Americans to set goals to show the 
country that they are educated, and that they could use their education and 
skills to achieve great things. They took pride in their accomplishments, 
endured the consequences of their actions, and never forgot to include the 
church when blessings occurred in their lives. 

He focused his attention on educating the youth of the church knowing 
that the future of Pilgrim depended on the spiritual and secular education of 
their youth. An after-school tutoring program was created to assist the youth 
in their everyday studies, as well as, teaching them study skills, etiquette, 
manners, and communication skills. Eldridge Gilbert, son of Reverend Gilbert, 
stated, "The church was a place where the youth could fellowship and learn 
with their peers. Parents could send their children to the church and not 
worry about their safety" (Gilbert Interview). 



Ward - 7 



Through years of encouragement, the youth of Pilgrim were graduating 
from high school, and many continued on to college. Several of the college 
graduates became teachers, nurses, artist, lawyers, doctors, and some 
graduated from seminary school. The pastor's love, caring attitude, and 
leadership motivated the youth (Gilbert). 

On Sunday, April 28, 1961, the community and dignitaries were invited 
to attend the church dedication service. 
Due to Reverend Gilbert's connection with 
the American & National Baptist 
Convention, leaders from Chicago, 
Detroit, Atlanta, and Memphis attended 
the service ("Sunday Rite To..."). The 
community and leaders were excited and 
overwhelmed by the structure. 

When the music stops, Reverend 
Bland starts to recite the vows. "Wayne, do you take this woman to be your 
wife?" He replied, "Yes I do." It was now the brides turn, "Vernessa, do you 
take this man to be your husband?" The bride replies, "Yes I do." Reverend 
Bland asks the couple, "What token of love do you have for each other?" They 
reply, "A ring." The minister blesses the rings and the bride and groom 
exchanged them. Again, the bride thinks of how special it would have been to 
have Reverend Gilbert perform the service. 







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ftiuReverend Steve Bknd, Jr. '" r> 

Pilgrim Baptist Church - 

Expanding As We Rise 

75 th Anniversary - 1917-1992 






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Ward -8 

It was January 1989, after forty- four years of service that Reverend 
Gilbert retired. This was a sad time for Pilgrim. Reverend David Steward was 
elected to serve as Interim Pastor. He served for eleven months (Pilgrim Baptist 
Church . . . Expanding As We Rise 1 3) . 

In February 1990, the Church unanimously called Reverend Steve Bland, 
Jr. to pastor Pilgrim Baptist Church. Reverend Bland began his pastorate in 
March 1990. There was hope that he would follow in Reverend Gilbert's 
footsteps. Although Reverend Gilbert and Reverend Bland were different 
people, their visions were similar. Reverend Gilbert focused on educating the 
youth of Pilgrim. Reverend Bland's vision was broader. 

The bride hears the audience clapping and saying, "amen, amen" 
Reverend Bland leads the newly married couple to the alter, where it is time for 
them to light the unity candle and kneel for prayer. The soloist sings The 
Lord's Prayer and it was beautifully sung. The bride remembers... 

Reverend Bland's vision is community driven. He stated "Pilgrim has 
always been a progressive Church and we are taking the lead to unite different 
religions, find homes for the homeless, take care of the elderly, and the 
education of our children." He said "Pilgrim has seen an increase in 
membership. There are young men accepting God's call and becoming an 
active force in the church. Our children are actively involved in the ministry. 
Our vision is alive and well (Bland)." 

It was important to this writer to know if the congregation supported the 
pastor's vision. A vision cannot be realized without the support of its 



Ward -9 

participants. The question to each interviewee was simple: "What is the 
Church's vision?" Dr. Steele replied "The pastor's vision is to meet the needs of 
the community from cradle to death. It is a vision that entails building 
schools, shopping centers, grocery stores, playgrounds, nursing homes, and a 
retirement village (Steele Interview)." 

After interviewing other members and with this writer having a personal 
experience with the growth of Pilgrim Baptist Church, it was unanimous that 
each understood and supported the direction in which the church was headed. 

The vision is being realized through the creation of new ministries and 
fundraising. A few of the Ministries are: 1) A Support Group, which was 
designed to help those community persons who are recovering from an 
addiction; 2) The Wellness Ministry deals with health issues (i.e. blood 
pressure, nutrition, exercise, etc.); and 3) Youth Advisory Ministry which works 
closely with the Pastor to develop educational programs for the youth. The 
Church has created a foundation called "Pilgrim Village". This foundation is to 
assist Pilgrim, through fundraising efforts, reaching the final stages of its vision 
to build schools, shopping center, nursing and retirement homes. The vision is 
being realized. 

The minister says, "Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to introduce you 
to Mr. & Mrs. Wayne Ward." They are really married and in love. As they walk 
down the steps to meet their guests the groom asks, "Were you thinking about 
Reverend Gilbert?" The bride replies, "Yes." She thinks, "He remembered the 



Ward - 10 

impact that Reverend Gilbert had on her life." She loves her husband even 
more for asking the question. 

It is four o'clock in the afternoon; the bride and groom are exiting the 
church to their awaiting horse-driven white carriage, decorated with ribbons, 
bows, a JUST MARRIED sign, and evergreen surrounding the frame. The 
guests throw rice at the couple as they enter the carriage. As the carriage 
starts to move the bride is thinking of all the history and the love she 
experienced at church. The bride and groom are starting a new life together on 
a solid foundation that has been blessed by God. 

As the carriage proceeds to circle the church the bride is looking at the 
large, white aluminum sided, two-and-a-half story building. The large mosaic 
of Jesus Carrying the Cross is adorned on its side and underneath is the 
church name in black lettering. There is a large lighted maroon bulletin board; 
at the top, there is a cross with a dove silhouette. 

The church is surrounding by floodlights and motion detectors. Around 
the front of the building, various sized evergreen bushes are lined in front of 
the basement windows, as if they are guarding the place. In fact, there are 
trees surrounding the entire property. 

The Church has always been a place of peace, a shoulder to cry on when 
times are hard, and to receive words of encouragement. Pilgrim Baptist 
Church has always been a special part of the bride's life. The bride grew up in 
the church and she participated in its growth. Reverend Gilbert taught her 
self-pride, to never be afraid of a challenge, to love the Lord, and to strive to be 



Ward - 1 1 

higher and better. Reverend Bland taught her assertiveness, to be aggressive, 
and to always honor the Lord. As one looks back on the two ministers who 
have lead Pilgrim Baptist Church with their visions, the writer would have to 
say that the message has changed but the vision remains the same. And yes, if 
the reader is wondering the bride is the writer. 



Ward - 12 

Works Cited 

Bland, Jr., Reverend Steve. Personal Interview. 28 September 2002. 
Carson, Clayborne, "King's Biography, http: / /www.mlkonline.com/ bio.html 

3 October 2002. 
"Erect New Church Here". Rockford Morning Star. Rockfordiana Archives. 

Rockford Public Library. 9 April 60. 
Gilbert, E.H.E. Personal Interview. 21 October 2002. 
Haynes, Marketa. "Pilgrim Baptist Church (student paper)." Rockfordiana 

Archives. Rockford Public Library. Jul-Aug 1967. 
Hollingshed Jones, Brenda. Personal Interview. 15 September 2002. 
"New Church Different in Appearance, Layout". Rockford Register Republic. 

Rockfordiana Archives. Rockford Public Library. 24 March 6 1 . 
Old Pilgrim Church with Members. Photo courtesy of Beulah Slaughter. July 

1919. 
Pilgrim Baptist Church. Diamond Jubilee. Anniversary Booklet 1917-1977. 
Pilgrim Baptist Church. Expanding As We Rise. 75 th Anniversary Booklet 

1917-1992. 
Pilgrim Baptist Church. The Wilderness Way. 40 th Anniversary Booklet 1944- 

1984. 
Rigsby, Bertha. Personal Interview. 30 September 2002. 
Slaughter, Beulah. Personal Interview. 1 October 2002. 
Steele, Dr. Vinest. Personal Interview. 21 October 2002. 



Ward - 13 



"Sunday Rite To Dedicate New Church". Rockford Register Republic. 
Rockfordiana Archives. Rockford Public Library. 29 April 61. 



THE REED-CHATWOOD 
INDUSTRIAL CAMPUS 



Aaron Serak 
Rock Valley College 

Fall 2002 
English Composition I 



s 



Aaron Serak 
ENG-101-NA1 
25 November 2002 

Reed-Chatwood Industrial Campus 

The Reed-Chatwood Industrial Complex reflects the industrial nature that 
Rocktord was once very well known tor. One of the first buildings to be erected in the 
area, its simple but massive construction stands tribute to the iarge amount ol 
manufactured goods once produced in the area. Today, however, the building stands in a 
state of disrepair, neglected due to absentee landlords and financial controversy. Ail 
nineteen buildings stand in a rough side of town. 

Viewing the complex from Loomis Street, the overwhelming structure of the 
complex tills the windshield. At the same time the observer reels both in awe of the size 
of the buildings, and an eerie sort of depression for their condition. The entirety of the 
city biock between Loomis and Montague Street, 1220 Rock Street, is taken up by one 
building that housed the majority of the tenants in the late twentieth century. This mighty 
construction of brick and steel sits in siience like an old warrior who age has caught up 
to. Despite its broken appearance, one can easily picture the greatness it must have once 
retlected. 

Ihe 1220 Rock Street of reality stands in stark contrast to the 1220 Rock Street of 
the imagination, it does not take much to turn back the clocks and imagine the complex 
in the early twentieth century. One can aimost feel the heat from the sun baking down on 
the concrete of the complex. If one iistens close enough, the distinctly unnatural sounds 
of the machines that populate the spacious open tloors of the structure can still be heard, 
some high pitched shrieks and low grinding growls. Almost as abundant as machine 
noise is the noise of the workers, laughing and joking while on break; shouting directions 
and requests at each other while on the job. The mind easily paints the picture of steam 



Serak - Page 2 

rising out of the chimney and trams pulling into the depot built into the back of the 
building, tilling up with loads ot goods, and blowing their shnli whistle as they depart in 
the knowledge that they'll be back in a tew weeks to pick up another load. The train 
passes a group ot small children playing stick-ball and catching grasshoppers in the vast 
clearings ot the campus, heading out into the rural areas surrounding early Rocktbrd. 

Just as quickly as the imagination came, reality returns. The brick that was once 
bright red now emits a dull crimson hue. The landscape is covered over with now 
cracking cement, where weeds grow long in the faults of the deteriorated parking lot. 
The windows are now dulled with the brown dust and gravel that covers the street. What 
was once a bustling workplace is now barren and lonely, the only sound the low howling 
of a seemingly constant yet gentle wind, occasionally interrupted by the crackling of an 
old plastic shopping bag in the streets. 

Walking around the building is almost haunting. Greeting visitors in the front of 
the building is a set of doors. Peering into the windows shows a dark lobby, offices, iong 
hallways, all of which appear to have been left abruptly. Papers on bulletin boards, pen 
holders on desks, and signs from previous tenants hanging dutifully on the walis aimost 
giving the illusion that the building is waiting eternally tor it's lively population of 
workers to come back. 

Proceeding to the southern tip of the building, a iook upwards shows spidery halt- 
skeletons of catwalks shooting up the building like ivy that has grown unchecked 
throughout the years of neglect. The buildup of dust earned in the omnipresent winds 
leaves dark stains on the walls of the structure. Any attempt to walk around to the back 



Serak - Page 3 

of the building is quashed by a rusting chest-high chain-link fence, behind which vast 
expanses of parking lots sit quietly. 

Heading back to the north end ot the building, gravel on the sidewalk producing a 
crunching footstep, the simple design stands in stark contrast to the curves and sharp 
wedges of the more modern Zeke Giorgi and National City buildings a mile or two to the 
north. The building at 1220 Rock Street is quite simply a rectangle; it is composed 
almost entirely oi ninety-degree angies, showing a design that tbcused more on utility 
and less on cosmetics. The vast clusters ot windows on the side ot the buildings teli the 
story ot long, wide open rooms in the building, as was appropriate ot a building with an 
industrial purpose. 

the stroii back to the car can leave one depressed about the state the building, and 
the rest ot the complex in general. However, a moment's reflection would bring about 
the idea that the greatness or the structure lies not only in what it once was, but aiso in 
what it couid be in the future. There is a multitude of great plans tor the area since the 
city purchased the complex. Ail it wouid take would be one good idea to breathe lite 
back into the hibernating Reed-Chatwood complex. 

Ground was first broken tor the Reed-Chatwood Industrial Complex in 1904. 
Throughout the years, more buildings were added to increase the production capacity of 
the site, until at the time of its being put up tor auction in 2001 the campus totaled 19 
buildings and 26 acres of land (Sweeney). The construction of the facilities were a direct 
response to the booming manufacturing industry in Rocktbrd at the time. 

the first decade of the twentieth century brought a lot of big construction projects 
to the Rocktbrd area, in 1903, the city saw the construction of the Rocktbrd Public 



Serak - Page 4 

Library on State and Wyman street, which stands to this day one of the most important 
and well-known buildings in the city [Rockford History 1901-1941). A year later, in 
1904, the manufacturing company Greeniee Bros. & Co. moved it's operations to 
Rockford. That same year also saw Rockfbrd's first skyscraper erected on the corner of 
State and Wyman. This store, built by Andrew Ashton, was six stones high and a first in 
the area (Rockford History 1901-1941). 

Elsewhere in the nation, labor disputes were beginning to boil up over treatment 
of workers, fn 1905, fndustnal Workers of the World was founded. Based out of 
Chicago, the Wobblies"', as they were calied, advocated strikes and sabotage over 
collective bargaining. This came three years after the United Mine Workers led their 
five-month coal strike that crippled the nation, it was the beginning of a new time in the 
industrial world, where workers rights were just beginning to be observed. These most 
certainly were some of the many issues on the mind of Henry Ford when he opened the 
first Ford assembly line a year before the first building of the Reed-Chatwood complex 
was put up (History of the World Timeline"). 

The United States was not the only area of the world seeing disputes at the time. 
In 1903, the Panamanians threw a US-backed revolt against Columbian rule, succeeding 
and putting into place the events that would lead to the construction of the Panama Canal. 
In 1907, the US saw a record 1.29 million immigrants enter the country, many of which 
went to work in blue collar manufacturing facilities like the Reed-Chatwood Complex. A 
year later, however, measures to control unchecked immigration were put into place with 
The Gentlemen's Agreement, in which Japan denied passports to their citizens who 
wished to seek labor jobs in the United States (History of the World Timeline"). 



Serak - Page 5 

Ail ot these factors contributed to the dynamic, ever-changing industrial climate 
that the Reed-Chatwood Industrial Complex was conceptualized, and eventually built, in. 
The site was begun as an effort by the Barbar-Coleman company, a local textile 
manufacturer. The company decided that the land on the river at what would become 
Rock Street would be the perfect home to an industrial park. In 1903, the first building 
sat atop this newly acquired land ("Reed Chatwood Property for Sale"). 

The complex made room for expansion in Rockfbrd's then booming 
manufacturing industry. Construction wasn't easy, however, because the buildings were 
all made entirely of steei reinforced concrete. The large, bulky buildings had to support 
the weight of large amounts of textile manufacturing machinery. This made for a slow, 
difficult construction process. The first building was began in 1903, however 
construction wasn't completed until 1907. However, due to the rigidity of the 
construction, the buildings still stand strong today (Reed Chatwood Property for Sale") 

The building of the Reed-Chatwood industrial complex excited the Rockfbrd 
community. It represented a growth in economy and many new jobs for the people, tor 
many years the buildings stood as a landmark on Rockfbrd's south side. Even after their 
sale to Reed-Chatwood, aiso a textile manufacturer now owned by West Point Foundry, 
in the 1980s, they continued to provide jobs and production to the Rockfbrd economy. 
Despite their current state of disrepair, Rockfbrd leadership is intent that the complex will 
continue to contribute to Rockfbrd well into the future. 

The oldest surviving building in the complex dates to 1907. With almost one 
hundred years of history in between the days of construction and today, much about the 
area has changed, in that same respect, much has also remained the same. The Reed- 



Serak - Page 6 

Chatwood Complex has changed structurally very little, despite the dynamic changes to 
the surrounding area. 

The lack of vanity was more than made up tor in function. To this day, the 
outside or the structures remains very much the same as it did at the time or construction, 
instead or attempting to dress them up, the buildings were ieft, tor the most part, to serve 
their purpose. The long, open spaces were allocated to the textile manufacturing 
equipment. A small railroad actually runs through the lower ievel or the building at 1220 
Rock Street, allowing raw materials to be delivered from anywhere, right to the complex. 

The interior, on the other hand, is somewhat of a different story. Upon entering 
the facility, one is confronted with an array of modern conveniences. Immediately past 
the guard stand sits a break room lined wall to wail with vending machines. A quick 
walk down the hall presents one with a senes of escalators climbing to the third tloor, 
which at the time ofinstaliation was the first and only escalator in the Rocktbrd area. 
Obviously, such conveniences weren't even thought of during the original construction of 
the complex. More hkeiy, the items were added as the purpose of the buildings began to 
broaden, from just housing manutactunng equipment to the offering of office space for 
small and medium-sized businesses. Many, including SuppiyCore/Protechnical Products, 
a procurement and supply-chain management company, and the local offices of the 
NAACP, were drawn ro the flexibility of the complex, as well as its two-dollar per- 
square-foot price tag (Jamont). 

Another use never dreamed about by the creators was the use of the facilities by 
technical businesses. Several web-based companies, technology companies, and even an 
Rock River Internet, an Internet Service Provider now running out of the Rockford Trust 



Serak - Page 7 

Building, used the grounds tor their operations, They found the long open rooms well 
suited to housing computers and communications equipment. Because or the low cost of 
the space, more money could be put into renovations and other expenses necessary to 
build a data center, such as a raised-tloor tor running cables, enhanced HVAC, and 
appropriate physical security and locking mechanisms. As a matter of tact, the third tloor 
housed a large data center once used by Barbar-Coleman tor its large mainframe 
computers. The raised tloor and extensive climate control systems give testament to the 
versatility of the buildings as they adapted to a changing world. 

Throughout the years of use, the neighborhood surrounding the complex has 
degraded. Aside from what can be gained from basic observation, which reveals a 
shabby neighborhood lined with run-down bars and abandoned storefronts, evidence of 
enhanced security can be seen in interotfice memorandums from the owners of the 
complex to tenants. One memo, dated December 8 Ul 1 995 and sent to all Reed-Chatwood 
supervisors and tenants, discusses an in-depth protocol tor obtaining access to the site otf 
work hours, including notifying guards ahead of time of one's arrival. The same 
memorandum goes on to detail an extensive patrolling shift tor the guards, and even 
alludes to previous issues with unauthorized access to the sites. 

One can also gather an idea of the people walking the streets from the businesses 
nearby. Several low-key bars are in the area, as well as a Hells Angels Clubhouse less 
than a block trom 1220 Rock Street. That is not to make any crude generalizations of 
those who patron such businesses, but it can easily said that trouble is often tbund at such 
locations, and many such locations are in the area. The bar's late-night hours draw a 



Serak - Page 8 

crowd of derelict aicohohcs that make any evening or nighttime stroiis of the 
neighborhood complex hair-raising at best, and most definitely not tor the feint of heart. 

Another observation that may take some by surprise is the lack of well-known 
chain stores in the area. A couple of miles to the north is a different story, but that 
general area has seen a migration of chain-based businesses and restaurants to the east, 
where much more explosive growth can be seen as Rocktbrd's border races to collide 
with western Belvidere. This surge of movement left many less well-known stores and 
abandoned buildings in its wake, contributing to the slum-like appearance of the area. 

Before the company of Reed-Chatwood sold the facilities to itself, in an 
accounting effort to change the assets of Reed-Chatwood, it wouid seem that Reed- 
Chatwood itself played a much larger role in the day to day affairs of the complex, as 
opposed to the last years of the complex, when Reed-Chatwood was only heard in the 
name of the complex. This contrast can be seen when looking through old memos sent 
from officials in the company of Reed-Chatwood, detailing day to day operational issues 
such as observing posted speed limits in the facilities ( 'Speed Limit and Traffic Flow", 
Bartscher) or having children onsite (Children on Premises"). There was even a 
periodical newsletter, entitled Rock Street Journal, sent to tenants and employees of 
Reed-Chatwood. The periodical discussed business deals both past and future, employee 
news, and even welcomed new employees. No such journal existed around the turn of 
the twenty-first century, when this writer worked in the facility. 

The facility now stands silently, as it resting from its earlier years of hard work. 
However, recent scandals regarding the ownership of the facility, as well as a slumping 
economy, have left the buildings mothballed and awaiting a new, as of yet undefined, 



Serak - Page 9 

purpose. The recent slumping in the performance of technical businesses, which made up 
many ot the complex's last tenants, left the complex operating in debt. The previous 
owners or the complex let this debt accumulate tor years, until the complex was hundreds 
or thousands or dollars in debt tor utilities and other bills that accrued, which they were 
supposed to be paying tor the tenants. Once the creditors calied in the debts, the lack of 
funds that the current owner was suffering forced the closure and sale of the complex, as 
well as the cutting oft of all power and other utilities. With industry sagging as much as 
the technical world, the complex is ieft without use, at least in the forms it was deployed 
in earlier. Ouite simply, the world around Reed-Chatwood changed. Perhaps the 
complex can show the flexibility that the world itself has shown, and adapt for a new 
purpose. If so, it would be a welcome change, because although structurally Reed- 
Chatwood has changed very little, its neighborhood and the worid surrounding it are 
drastically different. 

Acquired by the taxpayers in 2002, the city of Rockford now has this large 
chunk of land and facility to put to good use. The Reed-Chatwood complex represents a 
slew of opportunities for the city of Rockford waiting oniy on a pian to develop. 

for instance, the old factory buildings could be put to great use as loft apartments 
and condominiums. In doing so, one provides a convenient and luxurious urban 
residence for those who work in the city's downtown. In addition to that, it draws 
population, and thus commerce, back towards downtown and away from the eastern 
sprawl that's in effect today. 

The complex also sits in an excellent position to serve as an urban campus for 
Rock Valley College. The location of the complex provides convenient access for more 



Serak-Page 10 

underprivileged neighborhoods where people may not be able to attend class across town. 
Those who work in the downtown area can utilize the same convenience. Without a 
doubt, more people would pursue further education if they could do so on their lunch 
break and not miss any work or time with their families. The acquisition of such a large 
amount of space would also greatly enhance the capacity of classes the college could 
hold, providing a greater range of furthered learning opportunities to the population. 

Another option would be to allow the grounds to be developed by the Rockford 
Park District. At the very least, it would add cosmetic appeal to an area that many 
consider to be something of an eyesore. Instead, Rockford would have a peaceful, 
appealing outdoor area that could be enjoyed by joggers and studying students alike. 
Indeed, lining the river that bisects this city with parks and trails would be something 
Rockford could be well known for in the surrounding areas. 

These three ideas represent a tew of the many possibilities the complex has to 
offer. In tact, there is no reason why all three and even more of these ideas could coexist 
simultaneously. The complex certainly has more than enough room to offer. Such a 
bustling area so well stocked with reasons to make the drive are most certainly what our 
dying downtown needs. 

The Reed-Chatwood Industrial Complex has a history that dates tar back into 
Rockford *s past. It has been instrumental in the development of the local economy. At a 
time when the future uses of the complex arenT known, we can rest assured that however 
utilized, it will continue its great benefit to the local area. 



s 



Serak - Page 1 1 
Works Cited 

'Bag Lady is Textile Firms Incentive Program", Rockford Register Star 8 Feb. 1985: 1 A 
Bartscher, Jerry. "Speed Limit and Traffic Flow". Memorandum to all tenants. 21 

August 1995. 
Bartscher, Jerry. 'Children on Premises". Memorandum to ail tenants. Revision. 18 

July 1995. Original: 3 September 1991. 
Bartscher, Jerry. "Alter Hours Hntry Into Facility". Memorandum to ail Reed-Chatwood 

Supervisors and Tenants. Revision. 8 December 1995. 
Dummer, Cliff. Rock Street Journal July/ August 1996 
Jamont, Jon. Personal interview. 8 November 2002. 
"History or the World Timeline" Historychannel.com 3 Oct. 2002 

<http://www.historychannel.com>. 
"Rockford History 1901-1941" rockfordiliinois.com 3 Oct. 2002 

<http://www.rocktbrdiliinois.corn/chron2.htm> 
"Reed Chatwood Complex Sold", Rockford Register Star 30 Apr. 1999: ID 
'Reed Chatwood From Northwest Side", Photo by Scott Fisher, Rock Valley College 
"Reed-Chatwood from West Side", Photo by Scott Fisher, Rock Vaiiey College 
"Reed-Chatwood Property For Saie", Rockford Register Star 19 Mar. 1999: 5 A 
Sweeny, Chuck "Reed Chatwood Purchase signals big attitude change". Rockford 
Register Star . No Date Given. 



The Rising of Riverview Ice House 



Toni Thomas 
English Composition, Rock Valley 

College 
Fall 2002 



Toni Thomas 
English 101 
November 25, 2002 

Riverview Ice House 

The building of Riverview Ice House was not easy. In the Rock River Valley, the 
only place to skate was at the Wagon Wheel in Rockton, Illinois. During this time the 
Wagon Wheel had a variety of up and coming skater. In 1972, a Citizens Committee 
board headed by Alden Orput submitted a lengthy report recommending the construction 
of an ice rink ("Rockford gets" NP). That was just the beginning of a long struggle that 
would eventually be The Riverview Ice House. 

It was not as easy as they thought it would be. After getting approval from the 
Aldermen, The Park District's Board of Commissioners, Rockford City Council and the 
City of Rockford's Finance Committee, they thought the construction was on its way. 
Construction did begin, but it did not begin in its original location, or at the original price, 
or at the expected date ("Park" NP). 

The Wagon Wheel opened its ice skating rink in 1958. The Ice Skating facility 
was called the Ice Palace. It were future professional skaters like Janet Lynn and Scott 
Hamilton trained. It began with one sheet of ice, and then it expanded to two sheets. 
Slavka Kahout, a professional skater and teacher was the manager. It had hockey teams 
like the Wagon Wheel Cardinals, and the Rockton Wheels. After, the new ownership of 
the Wagon Wheel in 1974, and the roof collapsing in 1979, it was the end of the Ice 
Palace by 1981 ("Memories" NP). The ending of the Ice Palace was the beginning of 
Riverview Ice House. 

In 1972, The Rockford Figure Skating Club, and The Rock Valley Hockey 
Association approached Webbs Norman about the need for an ice facility in Rockford 
(Norman Interview). After that, he requested a feasibility report. On August 7, 1972, the 



Thomas 2 

Citizens Advisory Committee, chaired by Howard Walgren and Alden Orput, prepared a 
lengthy, comprehensive report. The conclusion of the well researched report resulted in 
the approval by The Rockford Park District Board of Commissioners, to undertake the 
project of building an indoor ice rink ("Rockford gets" NP). 

The proposed location for the ice facility was just southwest of Elliot Golf Course 
on Mill Road. The facility was going to include both an 85 by 200-foot official-sized 
hockey rink and a 60 by 90-foot studio rink for figure skating ("Rockford Janesville" 
NP). On a Wednesday afternoon about 4:45 PM, John Olson walked into Webbs 
Normans office and suggested that the "old City Yards be the home of the new ice rink". 
He felt that the Mill Street location would be too far out (Norman Interview). It was also 
thought that by placing the rink downtown it would "create a drawing card for the area, 
enhancing the Cities urban renewal efforts (Norman Interview). 

On Tuesday September 25, 1973, The Rockford Park District Board of 
Commissioners gave the Park District the okay to begin the construction of the indoor ice 
facility, as long as The Rockford City Council agreed to contribute $200,000 toward the 
project. On Monday October 1, 197, the Rockford City Council voted to donate 
riverfront city land and pay $200,000 ("Park"3). The additional $1 .45 million would be 
paid for with bonds that the Rockford Park District would sell. Before and during the 
construction, additional costs started pouring out of the woodwork. There was the 
remaining $27,000 that was still owed on the mortgage of the Ballard building that 
housed the Pine Tree Pistol Club. Scandroli construction Co, was owed $150,000,00; 
$32, 455 was needed for a road on the site, $40,000 to the urban renewal Property, 
$14,520 for concrete islands for landscape planting, $7, 500 for sidewalks, $32,000 to 



.-' 



Thomas 3 

pave the rink parking lot, $2,500 to landscape the parking lot and $12, 000 to light the 
parking lot. Zoning and relocating businesses expenses raised the cost of the project to 
over$510,500("Ice"NP) 

After reaching agreements on some of the financial circumstances surrounding the 
rink, it was time to decide who would actually design and build the rink. Seventeen 
architectural firms submitted proposals on their ability to complete this project. After 
going over their qualifications, twelve were chosen for a personal interview. At the 
conclusion of interviewing these candidates on Wednesday, October 10, 1974, Boettcher 
& Simmon were hired by the Rockford Park District to design and build the ice rink 
("Boettcher's" NP). 

The groundbreaking ceremony was set for December of 1973, but the actual 
ceremony did not take place until March of 1974. The construction was scheduled to be 
completed by the summer of 1975. The location of the building was moved from its 
original location a little to the north, and placed on an angle. The entrance to the building 
was moved from one side of the building, to the southeast side of the building, closer to 
the Rock River. 

The groundbreaking ceremony consisted of naming of the rink. The name was 
chosen from a contest. The winners' names were Patricia Hennigan and Jim Beattie. 
Patricia chose the name Riverview Ice Arena, and Jim picked the Ice House portion. The 
two names were combined and Riverview Ice House was chosen. The two winners 
would be the first to skate when the rink was completed; they also received a years' free 
pass to the facility. The Dinky Rink was suggested by James Hogfeldt, and the Cooler by 
Trudy Bunge. They both received honorable mentions for their thoughts. 






-' 



Thomas 4 

The Mayor "cited the ice rink as an example of intergovermental cooperation, and 
proof that metro-style government can exist" ("Riverview" NP). Once the 
groundbreaking events were over, it was time for the cashing in of the bonds. To the 
Park District's surprise, the bonds were rejected. On June 20, 1974 Kampen, Wauterlek 
& Brown, Inc felt that the feasibility report submitted reflected inaccurate findings. It 
was suggested that general obligation bonds be used. They would be repaid through tax 
funds, rather than money made by the rink ("Study NP). The Rockford Park District 
began working with four different banks on August 6, 1974 to get the rink paid for. With 
the new plan set into motion, they would receive money from Continental Illinois Bank, 
American National Bank, and City National Bank. The Park District received financial 
assistance from the City of Rockford, and The Board Of Education ("Rink" NP). 

With the financial struggles almost behind them, the big day had arrived. On July 
4, 1975 Mayor Robert McGraw announced the opening of The Riverview Ice House. 
Volunteers had worked hard the days before helping to get everything ready for opening 
day. After the dedication ceremony and program that featured many up and coming 
skaters, it was time for the public to hit the ice. With Patricia Hennigan, and Jim Beattie 
leading the way, over two thousand people skated for free that day (Riverview NP). 

Since it opened over 27 years ago, Riverview Ice House has changed prices, 
programs, staff, management, and expanded. The Carlson Ice Arena on E. Riverside 
opened in 1999. Located in different areas, Riverview and Carlson are considered one 
facility of the Rockford Park District (Thomas). 

The public skate times and cost have changed through the years. It is very hard to 
know the exact time for public skates in the months to come. The hours change 



Thomas § 

according to the events, and programs that are scheduled for that month (Thomas). The 
cost for the public skate in 1975, when Riverview opened, was $1.00 for adults and $.50 
for children ("Rockford", NP). In 1981, the cost for skating was $1.25, and skate rental 
was $.75. By 1986, the public skate was $2.00 and $.75 for skate rental. The summer of 
1997 a weekday public skate was $3.00 and weekend and holidays was $3.25. Skate 
rental was $1.75 and children 4 and under were free ("Public"). At the present time, the 
cost for two or more hours of public skate is $4. for a Rockford resident and $4.50, for a 
non-resident. Children 4 and under are free. A one-hour public skate cost $2.00, skate 
rental and children four and under is the same as two-hour publics ("Public"). 

Through the years, many programs have been established at the Riverview Ice 
House (Dimke Interview). Very few were able to stand the test of time. Figure skating 
and hockey have been around since the facility opened. Unfortunately, the disagreements 
between figure skating clubs and hockey clubs formed in 1975 (Norman Interview). As 
of today, they still have not reached an agreement on equal ice time for each other. In the 
1 970s there were figure skating programs and hockey programs. Currently, those 
programs have been divided and broken up into different programs. The Northern Illinois 
Skating Club and The Figure Skating Club of Rockford are two organizations that 
support figure skating. The Figure Skating Club has been around since before Riverview 
opened. Learn- to- Skate classes and freestyles are offered through the Park District at 
both the Ice facilities. The Forest City Hockey League, as it is known today, was called 
the In House Hockey League when Riverview opened. The Rockford Hockey Club 
supports the traveling hockey league (Kirkpatrick interview). 



Thomas 6 

In 1 975 when Riverview Ice House opened, Carol Nitti was the first Director of 
the figure skating programs. In 2002 she is now Carol Ueck, and teaches the young and 
the old how to skate. She is a professional ice skating instructor. She is the only 
employee that has been here since the doors opened on July 4, 1975 (Ueck Interview). 

Bob Kirkpatrick was the first manager of the facility in 1975. Over the years 
Riverview Ice House has seen many different managers. In 1 976 Rich Gato was 
manager; in 1 978 Don Lumley became the manager; then in 1 980 Tom Dufalut stepped 
in as manger (Kirkpatrick Interview). In the early 1980s, Tim Dimke was manager 
(Dimke Interview), followed by mangers Rich Gadow, Julie Elliot, and Ann Thompson 
(Kirkpatrick Interview). 

In 1995, The Friends of Riverview, a volunteer support group, wanted another ice 
facility built. The Park District invested in the project. Kurt Carlson donated the land. 
The Friends of Riverview agreed whey would pay $ 1 million dollars towards the project. 
The facility opened in 1999, but the financial fight began in 1997. The Friends of 
Riverview were not able to come up with agreed upon $1 million dollars ("Ice Rink 
Drive Short of Funds" NP). It was just like the bonds that were not approved in 1975 
causing a financial frenzy. When less then six months old Riverview Ice House had over 
35,000 visitors ("Riverview" NP). Twenty-seven years later, and another facility added, 
the Ice facilities of the Rockford Park District, have had more than 51, 000 visitors 
(Thomas). 

The Rockford Park District started out over 27 years ago with Riverview Ice 
House. It was the first Ice Arena in Rockford, Illinois; it started out with obstacles to 
overcome even before the doors opened in 1975. After the doors opened in 1975 



Thomas 1 

Riverview Ice House continued to have obstacles to overcome. Management and 
employees changed often. Many different programs were created. Unfortunately, only a 
few are still around today (Dimke Interview). The hockey programs and figure skating 
programs have both been around since the beginning. They still cannot come together, 
and see eye to eye on working together. The pricing, programs and mangers have 
changed, but the foundation on which it was built has not. 



Toni Thomas 
English 101 



WORKS CITED 

" Boettcher's Firm to Build Ice Rink", Rockford Register Star , October 11, 1973 

Rockfordiana file, Rockford Public Library 
Dimke, Tim, Chief Operating Officer Rockford Park District, Personal Interview, 

October 18, 2002. 
"Ice Rink Cost Increases Again", Rockford Register Star, January 1, 1975, 

Rockfordiana file, Rockford Public Library 
Kirkpatrick, Robert, first manager of Riverview Icehouse. Personal Interview 
"Memories" Talcott Library 
"Park Board OKS Ice Rink", September 26, 1973. Rockford Register Star , 

Rockfordiana file, Rockford Public Library 
" Public Skate Calendars ", Riverview Ice House Brochure. 
"Rink Work Puts Park District in Bind", July 24, 1974. Rockford Register Star , 

Rockfordiana file, Rockford Public Library 
"Riverview Ice House Does a Booming Business", Rockford Register Star , 

December 30, 1975, Rockfordiana file, Rockford Public Library. 
"Rockford gets Indoor Ice Rink", June 13, 1973. Rockford Register Star, 

Rockfordiana file, Rockford Public Library. 
"Rockford, Janesville Ice Rinks Compared", Rockford Register Star, February 6, 

1975. Rockfordianna file, Rockford Public Library. 
"Study Ice Rink Bonds are Rejected Challenged", June 20, 1974, Rockford Park 
District Register Star , Rockfordiana file Rockford Public Library. 
Thomas, Toni, Personal experience as an employee 1 997-present. 



Toni Thomas 
English 101 



Ueck, Carol, Personal Interview October 9, 2002 

Norman, Webbs, Executive Director Rockford Park District, Personal Interview 
September 30,2002. 



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The Birth, Change, and Men of Fire Station #6 

Matt Hallgren 

English Composition, Rock Valley College 

Fall 2002 



Hallgren 1 
Matt Hallgren 
English 101 NA-1 
26 November 2002 

The West Siders 

With the importance of fire stations to the Rockford area, Fire Station #6 has 
stood the test of time by protecting the West Side for 95 years. It has gone through many 
changes and firemen since its creation in 1907, but it still serves the same purpose, to 
protect and serve the West Side. 

The birth of Fire Station #6 started in late 1906. Shortly after the New Year in 
1907, Station #6 was completed (George pg.3 1 ). The station was positioned at 1634 Elm 
St. with its entrance facing north bound. One of the main reasons behind Station #6's 
creation was the rising population on the West Side (Cancelose Interview). With new 
immigrants arriving in Rockford daily, the West Side was popular spot for new settlers. 

Before its conception there were some influential people who pushed for another 
station which would eventually become Station #6. Thomas Blake, who was the captain 
of Station #3, was very eager about the station and stated "The building is the best and 
most substantial and best appointed building the city has got for the use which it was 
intended for, and the city is very fortunate in securing a building like this at the price 
contracted for" (George pg.31). Also, the Board of Fire and Police Commissioners 
worked with the City Council and pushed for another station to effectively cover more of 
an area, especially on the West Side and the business district of Rockford (George pg.31). 



Hallgren 2 

The construction of Fire Station #6 was completed with no complications (George 
pg.32). The appearance of the station was a two-story, reddish/brown brick building, 
with two giant doors in front waiting to swing open at a moment's notice. Finished in 
only a few months, the City got a bargain on the new station site, which was $5,862.00 
(George pg.3 1). The cost of the equipment and furniture was $1,890.00, and the 
assembly of the plumbing and heating cost a total of $1,869.86 (George pg.32). 

Throughout the years there were many renovations, mainly to keep up with the 
other fire stations and the economy. In 1931, the station's 1 st renovation was their 
plumbing systems (City Hall). Then, in 1952, they upgraded their electrical system 
because it was old and frail (City Hall). 

Eventually in 1976, 69 years after its creation, Station #6 made a move to a new 
location at 3329 W. State St. (Cavanagh Interview). The new station was more 
accessible than the old one, because it sat on a well traveled street. Construction of both 
sites was also different. The old station was a two story brick building with a 
reddish/brown color to it, and the newer station was a one story brick building with a 
yellowish/tan color. Although appearance wise there were many differences, both 
stations still served the same purpose, to protect the West Side. 

Years have come and gone at Station #6, but what sets this station apart from the 
others is its people. The current Lutenant at the newer station is Denny Cavanagh. 
Denny explained that "Fireman have one of the most dangerous jobs in the world," and 
that "firemen today are trained in many different areas of expertise: Confined space 



Hallgren 3 
rescue, hazardous materials, high angle rescue, water rescue, vehicle rescue, and many 
more" (Cavanagh Interview). 

Before the move to W. State St., Station #6 was run by a Captain named Tom 
Cancelose (Cancelose Interview). Tom worked as the Captain at #6 till its move in 1976, 
and then transferred over to Station #4 (Cancelose Interview). Tom served as a firemen 
for 25 years and talked about the changes throughout those years (Cancelose Interview). 
He told a story about "How I had saved Manley Melvin's life, who was a City Alderman 
at the time, by administering CPR which my crew and I only learn three months prior to 
this incident" (Cancelose Interview). These are just two of the many great firefighters 
who have come out of Station #6. 

Once Station #6 made its move to a new location, the old building sat uninhabited 
for quiet some time. Sometime around the 1980s, it was turned into a lodge called the St. 
Matthew Mosonic Lodge which was used as a recreational and meeting place (City Hall). 
The lodge remained there until its demolition sometime in the 1990's to make way for the 
Ellis Arts Academy. 

In conclusion, Rockford's Fire Station #6 is an important reminder of why fire 
stations are so vital to our community. What makes Station #6 stand out is their crew, 
like Denny Cavanagh, Tom Cancelose, and many others. Since its conception in 1907 it 
has stood the test of time lasting an amazing 95 years. This is why it is considered a 
"local important site." 



Hallgren 4 



Works Cited 
Cancelose, Tom. Personal Interview. 21 October 2002. 
Cavanagh, Danny. Personal Interview. 19 October 2002. 
City Hall Building. Copied documents. Rockford, Illinois. 2002. 
George, James and Janet. Forest City Firelog. Rockford, Illinois. 1982. 31-32. 



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Rock River Elementary School: 
Ninety-one Years in the Making 

David Towle 

English Composition, Rock Valley College 

Fall 2002 










David Towle 

26 November 2002 

English 101, Section NC 

Rock River Elementary School: 
Ninety-one Years in the Making 

By the early 1900s, the life of the one-room schoolhouse was at an end. In 1883, 
Illinois passed the state's first attendance law, which required all children between the 
ages of 8 and 14 to attend school (Espy 9). With the increase of students came the 
demand for more space to hold classes. The old one-room schoolhouses gave way to the 
bigger school buildings with many classrooms. As the years went on, the volume of 
students increased and the number of schools being built grew to accommodate that 
volume. Rock River Elementary was one of those schools that came to life those many 
years ago. 

The area of Kishwaukee Road and Harrison Avenue today is a mixture of residential 
and industrial with a couple of churches thrown in for good measure. Ninety-two years 
ago, both were dirt roads with wide-open fields all around. This area was considered part 
of the New Milford Township and therefore outside the city limits. Residential homes and 
farms lined these streets and the people who lived here supported the value of education 
(Winnebago County Schools). 

In 191 1, William H. Taft was the president of the United States. The Spanish- 
American War had been over for twelve years and World War I was three years away 
("Year by Year"). Locally, Rockford and the surrounding areas were growing. Industries 
were forming to manufacture farm equipment, knitting machines, furniture and more 
(Monahan 142). Two Curtiss Model D biplanes were the first "powered" aircraft to land 



Towle -2 
in Rockford. The Illinois Central Railroad completed the famous "Industrial Beltline", 
part of which runs past Rock River School (Heck 121). Schools had added physical 
education and manual training (home economics) classes to the basic fundamental studies 
(Buckles 180). Times were changing and this growth impacted the need for more schools. 

The people who made up Rock River School District 103 New Milford Township, 
wanted to show their dedication to the educational needs of their children by building a 
bigger school. There were three school directors of District 103 who put the plans for the 
new school together to present to the community. Their names were Anton Stenstrom, a 
tool maker, Lars J. Seleen, a landowner, and Alrick Peterson, vice president of a lumber 
company (Seleen Interview; Stenstrom Interview). Research shows that Mr. Seleen was 
given an honorable mention as being the main driving force in getting Rock River built. 
He displayed a sharp business sense and constant effort in securing the best educational 
facilities available. In an interview with his grandson, it is believed that Mr. Seleen 
owned part of land where Rock River stands (Seleen Interview). The directors put 
together a bond issue, which was needed to buy the land and build the school. An election 
was held in which the people of the community voted unanimously for the issue 
(Winnebago County Schools). 

Once the bond was passed, six acres of land that was once a limestone quarry was 
purchased and construction commenced. To date, there has been no information available 
on the name of who actually built the school. The architectural plans used to build the 
Harlem Consolidated School building was reused to build Rock River (Stenstrom 
Interview). No actual date was given for the completion of the school, but discovery of a 



Towle - 3 
photo of the completed school was dated December 20, 1911 (Winnebago County 
Schools). Rock River Elementary was ready to begin its long journey of working with 
the children within its community and providing them the best education possible. 

The directors of Rock River, Seleen, Stenstrom, and Peterson, offered an interesting 
policy for its students. Any child who went to Rock River and continued their education 
was guaranteed a teaching job. That person was given one year to show that they deserved 
a job there at Rock River. After one year, either the teacher or the directors could end the 
employment if not satisfied. This guaranteed teaching hopefuls at least one year of 
experience and provided the directors with the staff needed for the students (Stolgren 
Interview). 

Rock River opened its doors in 1911 with 76 students, two teachers and a principal. 
Originally three rooms on the main floor were used for the classrooms. The basement 
area was used for an inside playground in bad weather. The top floor or attic housed the 
living area for the janitor and his wife. Directly behind the school was a long building that 
contained outside toilets for the children and faculty (Stenstrom Interview). By 1917, 
Rock River had 1 74 students attending and a fourth room was in use on the main floor 
(Stenstrom Interview). The establishment of Camp Grant in 1917 caused the closing of 
nearby Miller Elementary School. When Miller School closed, its students came to Rock 
River. This increased the enrollment at Rock River and created talk between the two 
districts, Rock River and Miller, about combining into one school district. In 1920, this 
happened and Rock River became Rock River Consolidated District No. 125 (Epsy 82). 

In 1923, Rock River added a gym on the back of the school building in place of the 
























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Towle - 4 
outhouses. The basement area was converted to classrooms and Rock River continued to 
teach to a growing number of students (Stenstrom Interview). Morris Kennedy School 
was built that same year as part of District 1 25 to help alleviate the large number of 
students. This helped very little as both schools experienced rapid enrollment. 

In 1 929, Rock River Elementary received a special treat with the arrival of Richard 
Patton, their new social studies teacher. It was the first time in the school's history to 
have a male teacher. Patton was described by Irene Stolgren as a "colorful college 
graduate who like to wear a raccoon coat to school." Students thought very high of 
themselves if they were lucky enough to be in his class (Stolgren Interview). 

Throughout the 1930s, the communities where each school was located fought with 
each other over the use of school district funds. The funds were needed to remodel the 
interior of the school to accommodate students. The biggest expense at the time was 
converting the attic space, which once housed the janitor, into a library for the school 
(Chappel; Stenstrom Interview). Finally, in November of 1940, the two schools formed 
their own districts and Rock River became Rock River Consolidated District No. 129 
(Espy 83). 

Once again their own school district, Rock River had split many of their classes into 
half days so that it could teach more children. One group of children came in the 
mornings for their lessons and left at noon. The next group of children came in and 
received the same lessons in the afternoon (Ward Interview; "$66,900 Federal ...."; 
Stolgren Interview). The teachers were well prepared with exactly what to teach the 
children and the children learned the necessary skills. "While the half-day classes 



























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Towle - 5 
required the students to miss time in music, art, and physical education, the students did 
not suffer academically" (Stolgren Interview). 

In 1 942, Rock River made plans to add four rooms to the original building in hopes of 
making more room for their students. These plans were scrapped when it was learned that 
Camp Grant was building an 80-unit housing project for its non-commissioned officers 
and their families. This housing unit eventually became the Orton Keyes Housing Project 
that housed low-income families whose children would also go to Rock River. The 
money raised in bonds for the four-room addition would now go to building a new 
building that would be attached to the old school. As Rock River was the school 
responsible for the education of children of military personnel, they received a federal 
grant for the additional money that was needed. In 1 946, a new portion was built 
connected to the old school. This new portion had two floors and contained eight new 
classrooms ("$66,900 Federal ...."). 

Rock River, in February 1949, accepted twenty acres of land from the federal 
government. Rock River used some of this land to build a playground for its students. 
The rest was held onto in case more room was needed for the school ("Voters Ok'd .."). 

In the early 1950s, the city of Rockford had been slowly combining all of the outlying 
school districts into one. The city had grown into the surrounding areas including the area 
around Rock River. It was believed that all of the children would benefit from being part 
of one school district. In 1 952, keeping with its goal to merge school districts, 
Rock River was annexed to the city of Rockford and became part of Rockford Charter 
District No. 205(Epsy 129). Rock River has stayed with District 205 for fifty years, the 





































































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- 















Towle - 6 
longest period of time with one district in its life as a school. 

In 1959, Rock River made two additions to the school building. A section was added 
to the gym that contained boys and girls' locker room, storage room and a kitchen. The 
other addition was added to the earlier first addition. It was one floor and contained the 
new library and three classrooms. Two years later in 1961, a second floor was added to 
the addition. With this second floor, which contained five classrooms, Rock River's 
current exterior appearance was complete. 

With the outside of the school complete, Rock River continued to make interior 
changes. This included rearranging classrooms and remodeling the main office and the 
nurse's office. Most recently, the classes were wired for the Internet, bringing Rock River 
to the 21st century (Ward Interview; Towle Interview). 

According to the most recent statistics, forty-eight percent of the students that 
currently attend Rock River Elementary live within a one-mile radius of the school 
(Rockford Board of Ed.). Ninety-two percent of the students attending Rock River are at 
the poverty rate. Because of the high poverty rate, students at Rock River are eligible to 
receive special services including reduced and/or free breakfast and lunches. This 
classifies Rock River as a Title 1 school making it eligible for grant money. As a Title 1 
school, students and their families can get tutoring help, computer instruction, and other 
services. If these students went to other schools, they may not be eligible to receive these 
needed services (Rockford Board of Ed.; Towle Interview). The mayor of Rockford, 
Doug Scott, is a proponent of both the education system as well as the lower income 
communities within Rockford. Mayor Scott calls the schools "vital" and is quoted as 









. 





































































. 




































Towle - 7 
saying, "All of our students, like all of our neighborhoods, deserve the best possible 
opportunity to succeed..." (Scott 12). 

As with many buildings of its age, Rock River has its share of interesting stories. One 
such story is the supposed haunting of the original part of the building. It is rumored that 
a former principal hung himself in the attic and now watches over that part of the 
building. Although no factual evidence has been discovered regarding the suicide, many 
past and present staff members report sightings and unusual occurrences. The current gym 
teacher stated, "I saw a man standing at the top of the stairs looking down toward the gym 
when I was closing after a basketball game. When I asked him 'How can I help you?', he 
disappeared into thin air" (Stine Interview). She also went on to say that on many 
occasions she has unlocked her office in the morning to find numerous items rearranged 
with no logical explanation why. Other staff members who also have classrooms in the 
original part of the school have experienced similar situations (Stine Interview; Ward 
Interview). 

Rock River frequently has guests come to visit the school who were past students 
and/or teachers. As they enter Rock River's doors, comments are heard often starting with 
the phrases "I remember when ..." or "I used to ...". Many hold fond memories of their 
time at Rock River and lasting friendships were formed. There are groups of teachers who 
get together on a regular basis to talk about their time at Rock River. According to former 
student and teacher, Irene Stolgren, "We cherished our time here at Rock River." Even 
current teachers consider their time at Rock River special. They have faced the threat of 
the possibility of Rock River closure and the challenge of serving a diverse student 



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Towle - 8 
population. As one teacher states, "There is no other place I would rather teach" (Stolgren 
Interview; Towle Interview). 

In the ninety-one years of existence, Rock River has experienced changes to 
accommodate the ever-growing number and needs of its students. It has gone from being 
a solitary school district to a combined district back to a solitary district and finally part of 
the Rockford Public School District 205. Rock River has made changes to its physical 
self, both interior and exterior. It has seen its enrollment of children from the local 
community change from middle class income families to poverty level families. 
Throughout it all, Rock River has continued to provide all of the children that come 
through its doors an education. 






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Towle -9 
Works Cited 

"$66,900 Federal Grant To Rock River School. " Rockford Morning Star 7 March 1942. 

Rockfordiana Files, Rockford Public Library. 
Buckles, Stanley J. "From Slate to Computer. " Sinnissippi Saga: 

A History of Rockford and Winnebago County, Illinois. Ed. C. Hal Nelson. 

Winnebago County Illinois Sesquicentennial Committee, 1968. 173-190. 
Byers, Christine. Mayor Upbeat About City's Future. Rockford Register Star . 
28 August 2002: 20 pars. 10 November 2002. 

www.rrstar.com/localnews/your_community/rockford/20020828-l 1 933.shtml 
Chappel, Katharine K. Marion Moore Fletcher, Principal of Rock River School, 

Believes In Democracy And Practices It, Too. Register Star. 2 February 1945. 

Rockfordiana Files, Rockford Public Library. 
Espy, Charles C. "The History of Public Education in Winnebago County." 

Publisher Unknown. 1967. 
Heck, Robert. "From Canoe to Jet." Sinnissippi Saga: 

A History of Rockford and Winnebago County, Illinois. Ed. C. Hal Nelson. 

Winnebago County Illinois Sesquicentennial Committee, 1968. 1 13-135. 
Monahan, Robert. "Home Town Genius at Work." Sinnissippi Saga: 

A History of Rockford and Winnebago County, Illinois. Ed. C. Hal Nelson. 

Winnebago County Illinois Sesquicentennial Committee, 1968. 136-159. 
Nelson, Harold L. Phone Interview. 25 November 2002. 

































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Towle- 10 
Rock River Elementary School. Completed Building. Photographer Unknown. 

Acquired from Winnebago County Schools Annual Report. 20 December 1911. 
Rock River School District 103 Original Entrance. Photo by the author. 

23 November 2002. 
Rock River School Name of Directors. Photo by the author. 23 November 2002. 
Rock River School Old and New. Photo by the author. 23 November 2002. 
Rock River Playground. Photo by the author. 23 November 2002. 
Rock River School South Side. Photo by the author. 23 November 2002. 
Rock River School Today. Photo by the author. 23 November 2002. 
Rock River School West Side. Photo by the author. 23 November 2002. 
Rockford Board of Education. Fall Housing Report. Pamphlet. 2000-2001. 
Rockford Board of Education. Staff Statistics Report. Pamphlet. 2000-2001. 
Rockford Board of Education. Student Population Report. Pamphlet. 2000-2001. 
Rockford School District No. 205. Floor Plan. No Date Given. 
Rockford School District No. 205. Site Plan. No Date Given. 
Scott, Doug. "State if the City". No Date Given. 

City of Rockford, Illinois. 14 November 2002. Available [www.ci.rockford.il.us] 
Seleen, Rodney. Phone Interview. 22 November 2002. 
Stenstrom, Martha. Phone Interview. 26 November 2002 
Stine, Mary. Personal Interview. 22 October 2002. 
Stolgren, Irene Riverdahl. Phone Interview. 16 October 2002. 
Towle, Emily. Personal Interview. 01 October 2002. 

























































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Ward, Brad. Personal Interview. 21 October 2002. 

Winnebago County Schools. Winnebago County Schools Annual Report. 191 1. 
"Year by Year: 1 900-2001 . Family Education Network. 

1 October 2002. <http://www.infoplease.eom/year/l 911 .html 


















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ROCKFORD, ILUNOIS 



Birth and Growth of the Rock Valley College Aviation 
Maintenance Building 



Written By: 
Kyle Donley 



English Composition, Rock Valley College 
Fall 2000 



Donley 1 

Kyle Donley 
English 101 
Essay #6 

Flight Line Knowledge 

The Roek Valley College Airframe and Power plant program has gone from a 
glimmer in someone's eye to the fine department for A&P mechanics it is today. The 
school's journey from its humble beginnings in a shared hangar to the constantly 
changing hangar it is in today has been a rocky one. 

To appreciate the starting of the school one has to understand how the grounds 
themselves, the Greater Rockford Aiiport, got started. The airport itself had a rough start. 
The Rockford city government tried for years to just get the ball rolling on this project. 
The budgets and charters from the government kept getting turned down. Plus the army 
would not even think about it because they said it had no strategic importance (City Plan 
Commission). Many sites looked promising, but they would not give room for 
expansion. The only one that looked like it would work was the Camp Grant site but it 
belonged to the United States government (Cities Aiiport). Also, the government had 
something to do with the procrastination of the airport. The army kept turning it down 
for strategic reasons. Government held back the ok to sell the site of camp grant so long 
that it took a few years just to free up the land. Yet the spark of interest was still there. 

The city wanted to use the aiiport to send mail. The number of letters coming in 
and out of the city were sky rocketing. The current system of handling mail would be 
expanded by the building of the new aiiport. United Air Lines also wanted to expand 
their routes and wanted to use Rockford as an air hub (City Placed). Finally, things 
started to get finalized. The deal for the land was finally sealed. The government finally 



Donley 2 

gave the price along with the ok to buy the land. The deal also saved the City of 
Rockford a great deal of money. 

An airport authority was also formed. The men appointed to this committee were 
Swan Hillman, Kimball L. Finkenstaldt, Harry R. Shaw, and Glen L. Abbestett (Five 
Named). These are the people who made all the decisions concerning the airport. Finally 
building started and the ball was finally rolling. The airport authority finally got the 
funding and the go ahead to hire a firm to start building. Chicago consulting engineers 
Foth, Parath and Horner, Inc were hired to design and build the airport (Chicago Firm). 

Now that the struggle to build the airport was over the Rock Valley College 
Aviation Maintenance School begun it's journey. In 1966, talk started to emerge to form 
the school. Jim Froemming got it all started (Billman interview). Besides starting the 
school he was also working part time for both Rock Valley College and Herzog. 
Froemming created the school program which basically consisted of getting a curriculum 
together to be approved by the FAA. Classes finally got started in 1968( Billman 
interview). 

The building was small, but the instructors and students made due. It was located 
by the US Weather Building on the airfield. The building was not only small, it had to be 
shared with Herzog. The building space consisted of one small hangar, one small 
classroom and two small labs. Like the building, the first class was also small. The first 
year's program only had ten to twelve students in it. The class was made up entirely of 
males (Billman interview). 

Rock Valley College purchased a building which would solve these problems. 
The building was purchased from the Rockford Newspaper. The purchase was finalized 



Donley 3 

in the spring of 1972 (Billman interview). Along with the purchase also came the 
newspaper's Douglas DC-3 to add to the program. The building was not without a list of 
shortcomings. These included a drafty curtain main door which needed constant repair 
and replacement. A bathroom was available though it was small, a small upstairs office 
suited the instructors temporally, and three small but useful rooms for labs and a class 
room. A small loft was also available, but its floor would not take the tremendous weight 
of engines and propellers. 

Most of these problems were remedied in the first major renovation in 1984 
(Billman interview). In this reconstruction, the east hangar wall was reinforced and a 
new handicapped-accessible bathroom was added. With the newly-reinforced wall a 
new, larger loft was added which provided room for a new larger upstairs office with a 
sheet metal shop beneath. These new additions made life in the hangar easier. A single 
bathroom no longer had to be shared between men and women. Also the new loft 
provided more storage space in addition for allowing the classroom to gain size and 
adding the sheet metal shop. 

The college did not stop there. In 1995, the welding program changed (Billman 
interview). The college built a new and improved welding lab. The new lab was built in 
the new building located on Samuelson Road. This facility was better equipped and 
totally dedicated to teaching welding. The short distance between the hangar and the new 
welding facility made it possible to be used for the class. With the new welding lab there 
was no need to have a welding shop in the hangar so the space would be changed. The 
old lab was redone. Most of all the welding equipment was relocated and the room 
served as the new engine shop. 



■■■■' 



Donley 4 

The year 2000 brought even more change to the once antiquated newspaper 
building (Billman interview). The classroom and loft received a face lift. The loft had 
walls installed on its boundaries to prohibit students and instructors alike from going over 
the edge. Also the floor received some much needed reinforcing. These new changes in 
the upstairs provided the means for a computer lab. Also, more ever-needed storage 
space was added. For the classroom was another line-up of upgrades, including 
improved sight for students as the lights were upgraded. Also to fight off the summer- 
time blues, air-conditioning was installed. 

Additions were also made to the hangar. The electrical side of the hangar first. 
New more powerful lighting shed light on the sometimes frustrating work in the hangar. 
Also in the cable end of things, a new security system protected the building when left to 
rest. The physical aspect of the building also changed during this period. The floor was 
repainted a beautiful shade of glossy gray. A new paint booth also emerged from its mail 
ordered boxes. For the grand finale, the old, drafty curtain door was replaced with a new 
solid bi-fold door (Billman interview). 

The ongoing wind of change still continues to blow at the hangar. Recently, in 
the past year, the Aviation Maintenance Program of Rock Valley College was linked to 
the mainframe computer at the college. A new lighted sign was added to show the way to 
the hangar. Also, a new smart classroom was installed. This includes a few changes to 
the original classroom. The additions included a projector with a computer and 
additional hook ups located throughout the room to make teaching easier. As a student, 
the author of this paper also had a hand in improving the hangar via some instructor- 
induced student labor. The students, during this period of change, built a tool crib to 



Donley 5 

house all the many tools the college owned. A prop rack was made in the loft to store the 
many props lying around the hangar. Last, but not least, the student also had a hand in 
installing the new paint booth. 

The Rock Valley College A&P program has had its ups and downs. Or rather its 
downs and ups to put it in chronological order. With the addition of the new building 
which still stands to day on 6349 Falcon Rd. the future looks bright for the school. As for 
the building, its structure is at the hands of the people who work in it. These instructors 
will continue in the true mechanics style to never be satisfied with what they have if it 
can be made better. So the building will continue to change as will the times it stands in. 



Donley 6 
Works Cited 

Billman, Chuck, Personal interview. September 2002. 

"Chicago Firm Gets Contract to Draw Plans" July 24 1947 Rockforiana files. Rockford 

Public library. 
"City Placed on New Air Route' 1 December 6 1943 Rockforiana Files. Rockford Public 

Library. 
"City Plan Commission Launches Movement to Establish Airport." July 3, 1943. 

Rockforiana files. Rockford Public Library. 
"City's Airport May be Ready by Fall of 1948" March 7, 1947. Rockforiana Files. 

Rockford Public Library. 
"Five Named as Local Airport Commissioners." December 1, 1943. Rockforiana Files. 

Rockford Public Library. 



Rockford Foundry 



Jonathan Kryuder 

English 101 

Mr.Fisher 



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Jonathan Kryder 
11-20-02 
English 101 



Rockford Foundry 

The Rockford Foundry is one of the older buildings in Rockford. It has an 
interesting history that would appeal to just about anyone. 

The Foundry is not in suburbia. From the east side of Rockford, it takes about 
twenty-five minutes to get to the Rockford Foundry. It is located on the west side of 
Rockford. Right off of South Main at 212 Mill Street. One might not take the trip at 
night, because it is located in a bad area. 

The building is located in the old Water Power District, however the building has 
always been run by electric power. The Water Power District is an area where most of 
the buildings were powered by water, instead of electricity. The building has always been 
located in the same place at 212 Mill Street, Lot 13. 

The man involved in the building's development was C.B. Irvine, who was the 
owner of Rockford Overalls Manufacturing. Mr. Irvine passed away shortly after building 
the business. Rockford Overalls Mfg. was responsible for the costs of the construction of 
the building. The construction details for the Rockford Foundry were hard to come by. It 
is known though that the building was finished early in the year of 1924 (Rundquist, 
Richard. Personal Interview. 1 Oct. 2002). 



Kryder-2 

The building at 212 Mill Street has a complicated history. Shortly after 
construction, the owner C.B. Irvine had a large elevator put in the building. About a year 
after the elevator was put in, Rockford Overalls Mfg. went out of business. The building 
remained vacant from 1927 to 1932. In 1933, Illinois Water Treatment Co. bought the 
building and retained ownership until 1935. Bradley Machinery bought the building from 
Illinois Water Treatment Co. in 1935. Two years later, Bradley Machinery sold it to 
Rockford Standard Pattern when they made an offer in 1937. Businesses had a difficult 
time during the 1920s and early 1930s because of the Depression (Rundquist, Richard. 
Personal Interview. 1 Oct. 2002). 

Through better economic times, Rockford Standard Pattern owned the building 
from 1937 to 1967. There are no records of there inventory. Rockford Standard Pattern 
did a portion of their business with local shops. One specific local business was Barber 
Coleman. At that time Barber Coleman did mostly smaller size orders. Rockford 
Standard Pattern expanded its business by opening a small foundry on the top floor of the 
building. The first floor was the pattern shop. The large windows in the front of the 
building were put there to allow supervision of the workers. Finally in 1967, Rockford 
Standard Pattern went out of business, and sold the building to Craig Lindmark 
(Rundquist, Richard. Personal Interview, 1 Oct.2002). 



Kryder-3 

In 1 967, Craig Lindmark bought what is today the Rockford Foundry. The first 
change Craig made was to put in a sand system. Gunite, a Rockford manufacturing 
company, customized the sand system. The sand system worked by a stand that goes 
through the hoppers in the floor. Then, the sand moved through a grate that moved down 
into a processing machine, after which it continued up a elevator designed to carry the 
sand. The second floor were where it went to the hoppers that suspended the sand above 
the molding machine. A worker could get the sand that way, so he didn't have to shovel. 
Conveyers were also installed for the molds, so the men didn't have to bend over and hurt 
their backs. Also, during this time there was an addition built onto the east side of the 
building to hold the furnaces. The furnace room is a sheet metal covered room that is 
twelve by twenty-five feet. The furnace room is where the metal is melted to make molds. 
Craig also put a cleaning room in the basement where the workers could wash. It was at 
this point in time that Craig wanted out of the business (Rundquist, Richard. Personal 
Interview. 1 Oct. 2002). 

Richard Rundquist made an offer to Craig Lindmark to buy the Rockford Foundry 
the first week of January in 1978. At that time, Dick was working at Greenlee Tool. 
Dick took over the company April 1, 1978. Richard's wife, Shirley came down and ran 
the office from time to time. Richard had never worked with aluminum or brass before. 
He had only worked with iron, so it was rough for him at first. Aluminum and brass are 
totally different metals than iron. Aluminum needs to be heated up around 1300-1500 



Kryder-4 

degrees. Brass needs to be heated at around 1 800-2200 degrees. At the time Richard 
purchased the business, Craig and he made a deal that Craig would help him out for 
awhile. But after about three weeks, Craig did not show. That was not part of the deal, 
but Richard was fine with it (Rundquist, Richard. Personal Interview. 1 Oct. 2002). 

Dick Rundquist has two sons, John age 42 and Peter age 47. Peter started working 
at the foundry in February of 1 98 1 . Shortly after this time, the business expanded and 
bought the Woodward building next to the Foundry. The Woodward building is mainly 
used for storage. In fact, the writer's family camper is stored in this building. The owner 
of the Rockford Foundry tries to rent out some of the space in the old Woodward 
building. The business stores a lot of patterns in the old Woodward building. All patterns 
have a two hundred pound limit on any one casting. The Rockford Foundry works with 
aluminum, brass, and bronze. The quarterly use of brass and bronze is 15,000 pounds 
and aluminum is 70,000 pounds. The size of the castings range from .25 lb. to 160 lb. The 
patterns can be larger in size with aluminum, but nothing over four feet long. The reason 
is that aluminum is lighter in weight (Rundquist, Richard. Personal Interview. 1 Oct. 
2002). 

When Peter started at the Foundry, there was a 600-pound furnace and a 275- 
pound furnace. Peter never saw the 600-pound furnace run. It was at this time that the 
Rockford Foundry owner decided to remodel the furnace room. When the remodeling 
took place, they purchased two 275-pound furnaces and two smaller furnaces. They also 



.; i 

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Kryder-5 

put a new blower system on the furnaces and JIB burners. The JIB burners are junior 
incinerator burners. The JIB burners are a self contained unit. All the electronic burners 
are used by a switch. The new JIB burners have a more steady burner. 

Rockford Foundry used to have six molding machines and now has four. Ten 
years ago the company put new windows in the building. Another Rockford Company, 
Cardinal Glass put the windows in. Only the windows in the front of the building were 
replaced, because business is slow. The building as it stands today needs work, because it 
loses a lot of heat in the winter. 

Five years ago, the company cemented the first floor. The floor was originally all 
wooden. Over time the floor buckled and warped from water and sand. There were two 
inches of concrete poured where the wooden floor was. Today, there is still a small piece 
wooden floor visible. The section that is still wooden is used primarily for storage. 

Three years ago, a self set mixing machine was put in the building. The machine 
mixes fifty pounds of sand and two different chemicals together in only one minute. The 
foundry could have used other machines, but it was the only machine they could get in the 
building. Peter had to work with height limitations and other restrictions. The self set 
mixing machine is five feet tall, which allows seven feet above the machine. Peter 
designed a bin which would allow the sand to pass through from above the machine. The 
machine makes the corn maker's job easier. The corn maker is the worker who mixes the 



Kryder-6 



sand and chemicals together. The machine also helps the business because it allows the 
worker to get more done in less time. 

The customers of Rockford Foundry have changed a lot in the past twenty years. 
The Rockford Foundry even does business with private individuals, making different 
symbols of American heritage from a sailboat to a pineapple. The solid brass or 
aluminum symbols can suit anyone's house or apartment. Out of the thirty-some 
foundries that were here seventy years ago, only four are left. The plastic division is gone. 
It is not uncommon today for companies to go outside of Rockford to find parts. 
Rockford did not have to do that a long time ago (Rundquist, Peter. Personal Interview. 
25 Oct. 2002). 

The neighborhood that the Rockford Foundry is located in has not changed for 
the better. Seventy years ago that area was more of a pleasant place. The neighborhood 
has become rundown. The neighborhood is not as safe anymore either. The 
manufacturing industry is a totally changing market. Rockford has lost part of its 
manufacturing base, but thankfully there will always be a market for manufacturing. 



Works Cited 



Rundquist, Richard. Personal Interview. 1 Oct. 2002 

Rundquist, Peter. Personal Interview. 25 Oct. 2002 

Molyneoux, John. Personal Interview. 1 5 Oct. 2002 

Rockford Standard Pattern, Rockford IL. Photographer unknown. Acquired from 
Dave Oberg at Midway. Date of photo unknown. 

Rockford Foundry, Rockford IL. Photographer Mr. Fisher. Acquired from Mr. 
Fisher at class. Date of Photo November 2002. 



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Rockford Hospital: 
A Part of Rockford's History is Born in 1883 



By 

Amanda Hundertmark 



English Composition, Rock Valley College 
Fall 2002 



Amanda Hundertmark 
English 101 NA1 
26 November 2002 

A Part of Rockford's History is Born in 1883 

What is the difference between the original Rockford Hospital and the Rockford 

Memorial Hospital? The truth is, they are both the same thing because Rockford Hospital grew 

into Rockford Memorial Hospital. Rockford Hospital was originally the home of a Dr. W.R. 

Fitch, and even though Rockford Hospital is not a national park or state school, it still plays an 

important role in our local history. The old Rockford Hospital has contributed to Rockford's 

history more than any other Rockford historical site, and everyone's lives have been affected by 

the old Rockford Hospital's history despite how it has changed in today's society. 

Every part of Illinois history or even American history has needed a hospital at one time 

or another, and the people of Rockford knew back in 1885 that they needed one, too. Without 

Rockford Hospital having a part in Rockford's local history, there might not have been Rockford 

Memorial Hospital, which is an important part of the Rockford community today. Rockford 

Memorial Hospital takes care of everyone's loved ones when they are sick and many others as 

well, and the Rockford Hospital did the same thing for the people of their time. 

Although the old Rockford Hospital does not exist anymore, there is an exact replica of 

the building located at the Midway Village and Museum Center in Rockford, IL. Midway 

Village has a replica town on its site with many magnificent artifacts and stories. Walking into 

the small village a visitor gets the feeling of being in the time frame of the late 1800s and early 

1900s. As long as someone can find their way to Rockford (the second largest city in Illinois), 

they can find their way to Midway Village and its wonderful replica of the old Rockford 

Hospital. It's as easy as one, two, three. 



Hundertmark 2 

From the Midway Village parking lot, go into the admissions building to the right of the 
parking lot, and pay admission to the park. After paying at the desk, it will now be okay to enter 
through the main gate. (Sorry, there is walking involved now.) Walk through the main gate and 
up a small red brick path. At the end of the red brick path there will be a gravel road. Take a left 
on the gravel road to go through Midway Village. Follow the gravel road past the General Store, 
Gazette Office, Town Hall, and Blacksmith building. At the T in the small gravel road, go left 
past the Law Office and Church. Just past the Church, on the left, will be the Rockford Hospital. 
In front of the hospital there is a sign that says "Rockford Hospital: Keep Quiet: Remember the 
Sick." 

This replica building is two stories tall and resembles a large home in today's society. 
Giving it a kind of dollhouse look, the building is white with Easter green trim/shudders and a 
wrap around porch. Towards the right side of the building is a red-brick walkway leading to a 
large door. Windows surround the building on every side except for the back side, bringing in 
lots of sunshine. In large black print on the front side of the building "ROCKFORD 
HOSPITAL" is spelled out in bold capital letters. There are flower bushes every so often around 
the building giving it the appearance that they have been there since the real Rockford Hospital 
was originated in the late 1800s. Holding a simple structure, the building has one large wrap 
around porch that covers about half of the building's perimeter. In walking across the floors of 
the porch, the floorboards creak with age. 

It took a lot of hard work to make this beautiful replica. In this building's day, it was a 
place for the sick to come and get well. Although it is only a % replica of the original Rockford 
Hospital, it is still very large. In the presence of this large building, the feel of home comes to 






;J 



Hundertmark 3 

mind a lot more easily than it would at one of today's hospitals. The building and its area 
present much more of a bright and cheery atmosphere than that of today's Rockford hospitals. 

The Rockford Hospital replica in Midway Village creates the feeling of walking through 
the town on the old TV show, 'The Little House on the Prairie." Midway Village did an 
excellent job of building this Rockford Hospital, and they have information that is endless for 
people to learn about it. Now having been there, coming back just to see this beautiful town and 
its wonderful hospital will be exciting. 

The original Rockford Hospital that Midway Village's exquisite building represents only 
had 100 patients in their first year, and ob\ iouslv this has changed over the years. Today, the 
Rockford Memorial Hospital has over 490 beds (Rockford 1 ), and in 1883, the Rockford City 
Hospital only had 15 beds (Green 1). The Rockford community came to the realization that a 
hospital needed to be built in their community. Today, looking back at when it was created, 
where and how the idea came about, and who was involved in the creation of this amazing 
hospital, anyone can see that it started out almost microscopic and turned into something 
gigantic. 

Rockford Hospital was not always the Rockford City Hospital. It started out as an 
everyday home. The home originally belonged to Dr. William H. Fitch until the City of 
Rockford purchased it. The home was purchased for $ 6,300.00 (Monahan: The Growth... 4), 
and it only took $1,000.00 to convert it into a working hospital (Green 1 ). 

During this time, there were many important events taking place. Before the Civil War, 
Rockford was the head of an anti-slavery region. Also at this time, Rockford's industry was 
beginning to work along with the help of machine tools. Therefore, this started Rockford's 
furniture industry that would soon be the center of furniture manufacturing for the entire United 



Hundertmark 4 

States (Molyneaux 1 ). However, along with the industry and factories came disease, and factory 
conditions started contributing to the diseases of this time era causing an even higher demand for 
a hospital (Monahan: Bear... 10). 

Meanwhile, outside of Rock ford, between 1870 and 1900, the state of Illinois had violent 
labor incidents occurring in its area, such as the Haymarket Square Riot and the Pullman Strike. 
Illinois was also having a difficult time growing economically, and incidents such as the Chicago 
Fire of 1871 were slowing it down even further (History 2). 

Taking a larger step past what was going on in Rockford and Illinois at this time, the 
world was having significant changes as well. One of the things that were changing in the world 
that greatly helped the Rockford Hospital was the invention of the light bulb. Thomas Edison 
had just invented the electric light, and this greatly helped the hospital in taking care of their 
patients ("1800-1899" 8). They could not only see better in dark conditions, but this brought 
about the possibility of using x-rays later in history. In addition, Americans were also trying to 
overcome the Civil War, and hospitals were needed to take care of and help with the recovery of 
the wounded soldiers (7). 

However, hospital care was not only needed in war, and this is how the Rockford 
Hospital came about because there was an everyday need for this type of medical help in citizens 
everyday lives. Therefore, "On April 16, 1884, the Board of Trustees of the Rockford Hospital 
Association wrote a letter to the city's 33 physicians, asking their support for the desired 
establishment of a hospital". However, the location of the Rockford Hospital has changed, and it 
has been converted into the Rockford Memorial Hospital of today. The old Rockford Hospital 
was located at the comer of South Court Street and Chestnut Street, while the Rockford 
Memorial Hospital today is located at 2400 North Rockton Avenue ( 1 ). Everyone, including 



Hundertmark 5 

physicians, churches, and the everyday citizens of Rockford, came together and donated money 
and supplies toward the new hospital until they had reached their goal, and on October 10, 1985, 
Matron Martha J. Smith admitted their first patient in their 15-bed hospital (R.M.H. Reports 1). 

Throughout this whole creation of the Rockford City Hospital, there were few, if any, 
difficulties documented, and the construction of the hospital went very smoothly and very 
quickly. They had the hospital built within a year after it had been requested, and at the start of 
the hospital, there were 300 volunteer workers ready to work, taking care of all the needs of 
today's 523 bed hospital ( 1 ). 

However, without the time and effort of a couple people, the creation of the Rockford 
Hospital could have never taken place. Dr. William Fitch was the original owner of the home 
where the hospital was located, and he played a large role in the creation of the site (Green 1 ). In 
addition, Miss Elizabeth O. Glenn was the superintendent of the Rockford Hospital School of 
Nursing at that time, and she was responsible for the training of the nurses who were employed 
at the old Rockford Hospital (Presenting 1). 

A good way to look at the old Rockford Hospital and today's Rockford Memorial 
Hospital is to think of an ice cube and its original state. An ice cube does not start out as an ice 
cube. It starts out as water, and over the time it spends in the freezer, it becomes its new state of 
the ice cube. It is still the same thing, but it is just in a different state. The same type of analogy 
can be used to compare and contrast the old Rockford Hospital of 1883 to the Rockford 
Memorial Hospital of today. Just as the ice cube is still just water after its time in the freezer, the 
hospital today is still much like it was in 1883. The Rockford Memorial Hospital still serves the 
same purpose today as the old Rockford Hospital did in 1883 despite the many physical 
differences due to technological advances over the years. 



;J 



Hundertmark 6 

Looking at the similarities between today's hospital and the Rockford Hospital of 1883, 
both hospitals' main purposes are to help and serve others who are sick or hurt. Rockford 
Memorial Hospital's main purpose is to provide the best clinical care that they can for their 
patients, and the Rockford Hospital back in 1883 had that same purpose. During Rockford 
Hospital's beginning era, they treated many health issues, such as Hodgkin's disease, 
pneumonia, cirrhosis, tuberculosis, diabetes, and asthma (Second... 37), and today Rockford 
Memorial Hospital still treats many of these same health issues. The only difference is that 
Rockford Memorial Hospital can offer more specialized treatments for illnesses, and these 
services include areas in the "high-risk perinatal unit, maternal-fetal medicine department, a 
Level III neonatal intensive care unit, impatient rehabilitation, aquatic therapy, to name a few" 
(Rockford 1). Again, both hospitals' main purpose is the same, and they cared for many of the 
same health problems in their patients. 

Contrary to the similarities that the Rockford Hospital of 1883 and the Rockford 
Memorial Hospital of today have, there are many differences. Obviously, things have changed 
over time, in all areas, not only in relation to the hospitals of our area, and today's many 
technological advances are to thank for this. The old Rockford Hospital was located at the 
corner of South Court Street and Chestnut Street (R.M.H. Reports 1 ), while the Rockford 
Memorial Hospital today is located at 2400 North Rockton Avenue (Rockford 1 ) because, over 
time, technological advances have caused the Rockford Hospital to grow. Just by looking at 
pictures of the Rockford Hospital of 1883 and the Rockford Memorial Hospital of today, it is 
easy to see that it has grown. (See attached pictures.) Just to show how technology has 
advanced, our society can look at how our hospital today has such tools as more advanced x- 
rays, computerized machines and equipment, and even access to a helicopter called R.E.A.C.T. 



Hundertmark 7 

(Regional Acute Care Transport). These more advanced tools and equipment have given our 
hospital today the ability to treat illnesses on a more specialized level, and some of the programs 
that they offer on this more specialized level include: "The Children's Medical Center, The Heart 
Center, The Cancer Center, and a regional primary care network" (Rockford 1 ). This is a vast 
expansion in care compared to the broad responsibilities a doctor or nurse in the 1880s would 
have. In 1883, the medical staffs duties only included "noting and recording a patient's 
condition; assisting the physician; sweeping, mopping, and dusting; minding the stove; washing 
windows ("Second" 1 ). Their responsibilities were much broader than that of today's medical 
staff. 

To get a look at what the medical staff of the original hospital had to work with, 
Rockford citizens can visit the replica of the old Rockford Hospital that Rockford has. Although 
it is a three-fourths replica of the original building, the differences between it and the Rockford 
Memorial Hospital of today jump right out. Recently, in an interview that Amanda Hundertmark 
had on October 30, 2002 with Rosalynn Robertson, curator since 1998 at Midway Village, 
Rosalynn told Amanda that, "the Rockford Hospital on our site was built in 1988, and the 
committees and board of directors of Midway Village were in charge of the creation of this site" 
(Robertson). Rosalynn also told Amanda that, "much like the other sites in our village, it took 
the contractors about one year to build the Rockford Hospital, and the Rockford Park District 
hired an architect, Harry Anderson, to construct the site out of a master site plan" (Robertson). 
In addition, Rosalynn stated, "Midway Village and the Rockford Park District built this site 
completely from donations because it is not legal to use government money to originally build a 
site. Just like a museum, the government does, however, give grants to help maintain and 



-,-.' 



Hundertmark 8 

preserve the Rockford Hospital site at Midway Village, but it did not provide money to build it" 
(Robertson). 

Now, looking back to the ice cube analogy, the Rockford Hospital site that 
Rosalynn Robertson was speaking of is like an example of the water before it turns into the ice 
cube, and this is an example of today's Rockford Memorial Hospital in its original state. In 
addition, despite the many technological advances our society has made to cause the old 
Rockford Hospital to grow into the Rockford Memorial Hospital of today, a main similarity can 
be found. Both hospitals have exhibited or are exhibiting a main purpose of serving those in 
need, and in conclusion the old Rockford Hospital has contributed to Rockford' s history more 
than any other Rockford historical site, and everyone's lives have been affected by the old 
Rockford Hospital's history despite how it has changed in today's society. 



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QCKFQRDlMEMqRlAL HOSPITAL TODAY 




(Picture Retrieved from Unknown Newspaper and Unknown Date and Author 

(Midway Village Archives) 



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Rockford Hospital, October 10, 1885 

(Picture Retrieved from Rockford Memorial 
Hospital: The Pulse 10 October, 1975) 





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Works Cited 

"1 800-1 899 (A.D.) World History." The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 2000. 

Online. 29 September 2002. Available[http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/ 

A0001237.html]. 
Green, Lisa. "Rockford Memorial opened in 1885 with 15 beds." The Rockford Register 

Star 3 August 1986, Section 15H. 
"History." The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 2000. Online. 29 September 2002. 

Available[http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/us/ A0858739.html]. 
Molyneaux, John L. "A History of Rockford, Illinois." Rockford Public Library Catalog. 

The Rockford Public Library (Local History Room): Rockford, 1997. Online. 

25 September 2002. Available 

[http://www. rpl. rockford. org/community/History%20of%Rockfordh. htm] . 
Monahan, James. Bear Ye One Another 's Burdens: The Early Years of Rockford 

Memorial Hospital. Rockford: Trustees of Rockford Memorial Hospital, 1983. 
Monahan, James. The Growth of Rockford Memorial Hospital: 1900-1983. Rockford: 

Trustees of Rockford Memorial Hospital, 1985. 
"Presenting Fourteen Young Disciples of Florence Nightingale, And A Pioneer." 

(Author Unknown) The Rockford Register Star 15 October 1989, Section 

unknown. 
Robertson, Rosalynn. Curator at Midway Village and Museum Center. Personal 

Interview. 30 October 2002. 



- 



"Rockford Memorial Hospital." Rockford Health System. Online. 30 September 2002. 

Available[http://www. rhsnet. org/About/rmh. cfm] . 
"Rockford Memorial Hospital Reports to the Community on Our 90 th Anniversary." 

(Author Unknown). Newspaper Unknown. Date Unknown, Section Unknown. 

Midway Village and Museum Center Archives. 
Second Report of the Board of Trustees, Rockford Hospital Association, April 1886 to 

April 1893. Smith Publishing, Co. 1893. (Handout received from David Oberg, 

Educational Director) Midway Village and Museum Center Archives. 



: 

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Archival Essay: 
Room for Two 

By: 
Mike Campbell 

English 101 



Campbell 1 

Mike Campbell 
English 101 
10-5-02 

Room for Two 

From looking at the building that today houses the Rockford Register Star 
newspaper, The News Tower, one might not have known that at one point in its history it 
was the home to two local newspapers, The Morning Star and Register-Republic. One 
interesting fact I learned while researching the history of the News Tower was that it 
would never have been possible if not for one woman ahead of her time, Ruth Hanna 
McCormick. Now today that would not be so shocking, may not have been at that time 
either, but we must understand that women didn't even have the right to vote until 1920, 
and here is a women who was the publisher of two of Rockford's biggest and most 
industrious newspapers. 

The News Tower was not built just to produce newspapers for The Morning Star 
and Register-Republic, but as a symbol in Rockford for years to come "as a center of the 
city's life and in keeping with building which will be erected during the remainder of the 
twentieth century (Star, 38)." Reading this quote, one realizes that the architects behind 
the erecting of this building had a greater vision than just another news paper plant. They 
wanted it to stand out and be a beacon to be the center of what makes Rockford great. 

The first home of The Morning Star was located on North Wyman St. in 1908 and 
was the home for The Morning Star up until 1928. The Star and Register-Gazette merged 
into The Republic building in 1928, the current site of the News Tower. Construction for 
the first unit of the News Tower was started in the spring of 1929 (Star, 1938). This was 
going to be the seven-story tower that we see today while driving on State Street, which 



;S 



Campbell 2 

is a 45-feet square and seven stories high and is made out of Bedford Stone and stainless 
steel (Register- Republic, 193 1?). The top of the tower houses a penthouse in the top 
story with an architectural lantern, created by the steeply slope of the roof (Register- 
Republic, 1931?). At the very top of tower, 130 feet from ground level, is a flagpole, 
which we can see to this day with the light shinning on it when the sun descends for the 
evening. By 1930, the first unit of the News Tower was finished (Star, 1938). The 
architect who designed the News Tower was Jesse Barloga and was constructed by W. H. 
Cook (The Star, 1938). 

In 193 1, Ruth Hanna McCormick began plans for the second unit of the tower and 
ground was broken in June of 193 1 . Construction was completed for the second unit 
almost one year to the date, in July of 1932, and on the 23 of July, the presses released 
the first edition of The Star out of its new home. The second addition to the News Tower 
is "37 feet high, with a depth of 146 feet and a width of 44 feet (Register-Republic, 
1947). This was to be used to house the printing press and another room was remodeled 
to house the facilities expanded mailroom. This space was added due to the newspapers 
growing circulation around the city (Register- Republic, 1947). During this time, The 
Morning Star and Register-Republic were publishing 71,000 papers daily and 46,000 
papers on Sundays (Register-Republic, 1947). 

How the News Tower got its name is quite an interesting story. The Register- 
Republic and The Morning Star held a contest in spring of 1934 where people from 
around the city submitted suggestions for the name of the building. More than 25,000 
readers of the two papers submitted what they would like to have been the name of the 
News Tower. But it was one woman who won the prize. Theresa Severin, who lived at 






Campbell 3 

309 North Main Street, had the honor of naming the building, which has its name today, 
the News Tower. Some of the reasons that Miss Severin's naming suggestion were that 
the name stated the purpose of the building, brief, dignified, advertising value, 
permanent, and was impersonal (The Morning Star, 1934). Miss Severin was awarded 
fifty dollars for winning the contest. 

The two newspapers didn't combine into one paper until with winter of 1978, 
where they became The Rockford Register Star. The paper didn't change anything with 
the operation of the publishing the paper, the only difference is that people would now 
just get one paper with one name instead of the daily and the Sunday paper. 

The News Tower is a thing of beauty and a monument to architectural and 
engineering genius from the bottom of its foundation 30 feet below the normal water 
level of the Tock river to the peak of the 12,000 watt color lamp which crowns the 
building (The Morning Star, 1938). The architect, Jesse Barloga, added a touch of art to 
the design of this building, because he wanted the building to not just be another 
newspaper plant, but something that the people of Rockford could be proud of. 



\S 



Campbell 4 
Works Cited 
"$200,000 Tower and Annex to be Built for Paper." The Morning Star April 1 93 1 ? 

Pg not available. Rockfordiana Files 
"4 Homes Have Housed Star." The Morning Star . 3-20-38 Pg not available. 

Rockfordiana Files. 
"Miss Theresa Severin Has Honor of Naming News Tower." The Morning Star 5-20-34: 

pg not available. Rockfordiana Files 
Newton, Steve. "On Tuesday, it's Register Star." Register-Republic 12-29-78: pg 

numbers not available. Rockfordiana Files 
"Stout Building for new Press." Register Republic 5-30-47 pg not available. 

Rockfordiana Files 



' 



Rockford Standard Furniture: 
Part of Rockford' s History 



Virgil Sansone 

English Composition, Rock Valley College 

Fall 2002 



' 






Virgil Sansone 
English 101 NA1 
25 November 2002 



Rockford Standard Furniture 



Rockford Standard Furniture, located at 1 100 Eleventh Street, was built in 1886 
with a capital of only 75,000 dollars (Rockford 50,000). History records that Rockford 
owes its furniture industry to the disastrous Chicago Fire of 1871 (Monahan, Robert). 
Since the great Chicago Fire, furniture manufacturing in Rockford had boomed and so 
did the city ("Rockford, Illinois"). Following the Civil War, hundreds of Swedish 
immigrants had built tent cities, and made up twenty-five percent of the city's population 
("Rockford, Illinois"). These immigrants brought not only their families, but also their 
trade. 

Rockford's history of furniture manufacturing started sixteen years earlier and 
was at its peak. Rockford Standard Furniture was one of many furniture manufacturers 
that spanned from Eleventh Street to Seventh Street along Railroad Avenue ( Rockford 
Furniture Herald ). The Rockford Standard Furniture building alone spanned one entire 
city block and contained 100,000 square feet of floor space (Benson Interview). 

One of Rockford Standard Furniture's founding members was well known 
Rockford citizen, PA. Peterson. He had already started the Union Furniture Company in 
1876, as well as many other businesses, bringing experience and knowledge to the 
company (Monahan, Robert). He had such a large interest in the furniture business in 
Rockford that he would become known as the "Furniture King' (Monahan, Robert). 
P. A. Peterson, F.E. Lundgren and H.L. Hultquist became the company's first officers 
("Rockford 50,000"). 



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In 1890, Rockford Standard Furniture was one of 78 furniture manufacturers in 
Rockford ("Rockford 50,000"). However, the panic of 1893 played havoc with 
Rockford's furniture factories, marry of which were Swedish owned and possessed little 
capital to withstand financial depression. In a single day, 26 factories were wiped out 
(Monahan, Robert). P. A. Peterson had a great financial interest and was left with 
300,000 dollars in debt, but refused to go into bankruptcy (Monahan, Robert). Many 
more would continue to fall by the wayside, but Rockford Standard Furniture continued 
to survive. From 1894 through 1926 Rockford Standard Furniture continued to make 
high quality furniture. The reputation and quality of Rockford Standard Furniture was 
surely the reason the furniture manufacturer survived. 

Then, in May, 1927 the Chief Executive Officer, Harry C. West, announced that 
Rockford Standard Furniture would no longer manufacture furniture, but would go into 
the furniture retail business instead ("Rockford 50,000"). In 1929, Harry West sold off 
the remainder of the furniture manufacturing equipment and assets (Lundin 217). This 
proved to be a great challenge for Rockford Standard Furniture showing no profit until 
1934. By 1940, Rockford Standard Furniture was selling mattresses, sofas, floor 
coverings and appliances. Although the building had four stories, only two floors would 
be used for furniture sales and the remainder for storage. It took until 1973 for all four 
stories of the original factory floor space to be opened (Lundin 217). In 1975, Harry 
West retired from Rockford Standard Furniture (Lundin 217). In 1988, Rockford 



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Standard Furniture celebrated its 100 year anniversary. For fifty eight years (1940-1998) 
Rockford Standard Furniture was known for its high quality furniture, but also for 
furniture of a lower quality as well. Rockford Standard Furniture continued to operate 
until 1998 when it closed its doors forever (Lundin 217). 

In 2001, with the purchase of the property by Benson Stone Company, and with 
extensive restoration, the historic Rockford Standard Furniture building once again 
reopened its doors to a new business (Benson Stone). Benson Stone Company purchased 
the main buildings and several other surrounding buildings, totaling about a three-city- 
block area (Benson Interview). 

Unfortunately, Benson Stone Company was forced in 2002 to tear down the 80- 
foot chimney due to age and excessive damage. Also, several other small buildings 
beyond repair needed to be leveled (Benson Interview). Benson Stone Company moved 
its headquarters from Parmelle Avenue to the main Rockford Standard Furniture building 
(Benson Interview). Benson Stone Company currently uses only two stories of the 
building as retail sales space, and the remainder of it for storage (Benson Interview). 
Hearth Rock Cafe also occupies part of the building (owned and operated by Benson 
Stone Company) (Benson Interview). The Hearth Rock Cafe's food and atmosphere is 
astounding. The beauty of the exposed oak beams, hardwood floors and the smell of 
home made breads are wonderful. Mr. Steve Benson said that, "the cafe specialty is the 
home made breads and slow smoked pork". 






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Founded in 1930, Benson Stone Company is a fourth-generation, family-owned 
business (Benson Interview). In the 1930s Benson Stone Company was primarily a cut 
stone fabrication facility, producing Indiana limestone building stone (Benson Stone). 
Today, the company offers retail and wholesale products such as landscaping stone, 
fireplaces, barbecue grills, patio furniture and some leather sofa's (Benson Stone). 
Benson Stone Company serves not only the local area, but also Northern Illinois and 
Southern Wisconsin (Benson Stone). Mr. Steve Benson discussed information regarding 
current use of the Rockford Standard Furniture building as well as the "possibility of 
future furniture sales" (Benson Interview). Benson Stone Company would like to 
complete restoration of the remaining floors and plans for future use are still being 
considered (Benson Interview). 

Although time has past, the building still stands. No longer can the echoes of 
furniture manufacturing be heard. The building echoes a new sound, but still stands and 
will for time to come. 



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Works Cited 



Benson, Steve. Personal Interview. October 2002. 
Benson Stone Co. Website. September 2002. 

<http://www.bensonstone. com/aboutus. html>. 
Daley, Charles Lee. The City of Rockford And-Her-Men . New Illinois Stationary 

Company Printers, Rockford Illinois. 1 920. 
Front of Benson Stone Company. Photo's by Scott Fisher. November 2002. 
Furniture Map of Rockford. The Rockford Furniture Herald. April 1925. 
Lundin, Jon W. Rockford. an Illustrated History . Windsor Publications Inc. 1989. 
Monahan, Robert. "Business and Industry, Home Town Genius at Work". Winnebago 
County, Illinois. Sinnissippi Saga. A History of Rockford and Winnebago 

County. Illinois . Ed. Hal Nelson. 1968. 
Rockford Furniture Herald . Rockford Furniture Manufacturers Association. Volume 

3, Number 7. June 1927. 
"Rockford, Illinois". Rockford Furniture Industry . Date Unknown. 

<http://www.rockfordillinois.com/furniture.html>. 
Rockford Standard Furniture Building. Acquired from Steve Benson Interview. 1912. 
"Rockford 50,000 1909-1910", Rockford Morning Star . Rockford, Illinois, Date 

Published Unknown. 
Rowe, Ford F. "Rockford Streamlined 1834-1941". Publisher Unknown. 1941. 



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3fi?SWCKP0RD 

Furniture Herald APR- ■' ^-5 



The Furniture Map of Rockford 

Extent of Rockford Furniture Industry Indicated By Accompanying 

Chart Showing Location 0/ Plants and 

Associated Industries 



b'LESS one lias had an opportunity to do con- 
piderable traveling about the city of Rockford, 
it is difficult to comprehend the extent to which 
Rockford furniture industry has grown. Even 
:ure buyers who have made frequent trips to 
ford have difficulty in visualizing just what the 
ford furniture map looks like, for the factories 
idely scattered throughout the community. 

ockford has not only a large number of furniture 
ries, but also many plants engaged in the manu- 
re of products that are either used in or associated 
(furniture. Includ a d in this latter group are plants 
;ed in the manufacture of veneers, varnish and 
ing materials, mirrors and cabinet hardware of 
ids. 

ockford not only makes furniture and articles that 
to furniture construction, but also manufactures 
ge number of wood- 
n" machines""of various 



1. West End Furn\ Co. 

2. Rockford Furn. Co. 

3. Continental Deak Co. 

4. Blaekhawk Furn. Co. 

5. Central Furn. Co. 

6. Excel Mfg. Co. 

7. Old Colon}- Chair Co. 

8. Winnebago Mfg. Co. 

9. Fibre KLraft Furn. Co. 

10. Mechanics Furn. Co. 

11. AI. Carlson Mfg. Co. 

12. Rockford Chair it Furn. 
Co.— Plant "B" 

13. Rockford National Furn. 
Co. 

14. Rockford Superior Furn. 
Co. 



15. Royal Mantel & Furn. 
Co. 

16. Illinois Cabinet Co. 

17. Empire Mfg. Co. 

IS. Rockford World Furn. 
Co. 

19. Rockford Peerless Furn. 
Co. 

20. Rockford Cabinet Co. 

21. Union Furn. Co. 

22. Hanson Clock Co. 

23. Rockford Standard Furn. 
Co. 



24. Rockford Cedar 
Co. 



Fur 



25. Rockford Chair & Furn. 
Co.— Plant "A" 

26. Co-operative Furn. Co. 



; that are 

in making 
ure. Con- 
figures in- 
t e that a 

portion of 
Bford's 
ing popula- 

are cither 
oyed in the 

a I manu- 
re of fur- 

e or some closely asso- 
cl product, and it is safe 
y that Rockford is one of 
nost "furniture-minded" 
Mini ties in the country. 

ie plants indicated on 
urniturc map of Rockford 
s follows: 



23. 
29. 
30. 




Rockford Palace Furn. Co. 
Rockford Republic Furn. Co. 
Rockford Furniture Manufacturers Assn. 
Rockford Plate it Window Glass Co. 

31. Rockford Eagle Furn. Co. 

32. Rockford Desk Co. 

33. Skandia Furn. Co. 

34. Premier Furn. Co. — Office 

35. Premier Furn. Co. — Factory 

36. Rockford Showcase & Fixture Co. 

37. Excel Manufacturing Co. — Showroom 
37. Bishop Wholesale Furn. Co. 
3S. National Mirror Works. 

39. Rockford Novelty Furn. Co. 

40. Rockford Reed & Fibre Co. 

41. Forest City Phonograph Co. 

42. National Lock Co. 

43. Elco Tool &. Screw Coiporation. 

44. Rockford Var- 
nish Co. 

45. HaddorffPiano 
Co. 

46. Rockford 
Woodturning 
Co. 

47. Rockford 
Carving Wks. 

4S. S c h u in a n u 
Piano Co. 

49. The Pierson 
Co. 



50. 



Rockford 
Aluminum Co. 



,-' 



Forever Changing- Rockview Quarry 
Alana Goon 

English Composition 101, Rock Valley College 
Fall 2002 



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Coon 1 



Alana Coon 
English 101 NA1 
November 26, 2002 



Forever Changing Quarry 

Rockview Stone Quarry has been around for little more then twenty years. The 
land its self has always been there. To look at the history of the quarry, one must look at 
the history of the land itself. It has been through an interesting history itself. Everything 
from legal conflicts to buggy whippings. 

It started back in 1848 when Josiah Williams took claim to it (Chicago Insur. 
Co.).Then for about one thousand dollars, a gentleman by the name of Henry Mix bought 
it from Josiah Williams. After that, the land was sold to Maurice Fitzgerald. Originally 
documented, the land had one hundred and thirteen acres. By the early 1900s the land had 
been through a few legal conflicts that whittled it to eighty acres (Chicago Insur. Co.). 
Before my grandfather bought the land, Clarence Reed owned and farmed the land. 
(Chicago Insur. Co.). 

When Don Swinson bought it back in 1965, it was nothing but prairie land 
inhabited by everything from pheasants to coyotes (Swinson Interview). Then it was 
transformed into a sod field; for the short time Don Swinson was into landscaping. "I 
remember we had planted a nursery on west side to sell plants," recalls Joanne Swinson. 
It lasted about seven years before Don Swinson transitioned into wrecking and 
demolition, and stripping what would now be the quarry. What is left of the nursery now 
looks like an over grown woods (Personal Experience). Before sod was grown it was 
used as a junk antique dumping site by the farmers, who previously owned the land. Don 
Swinson then started to clean that up and turn it into sod farm and stripping southern part 



























. 






















































-,.-' 



Coon 2 

of the Property. Since 1970, Don Swinson started stripping down the top soil by machine 
and using it for his jobs (Swinson Interview). He went until he hit the bedrock and 
couldn't go any more deeper without drilling and blasting (Swinson Interview). 

By 1980, Rockford Blacktop was in the area working on Baxter Rd. from a one 
lane gravel road to a mini highway (Swinson Interview). They took an interest in the 
property. Since Pagel Pit was a quarry at one time about twenty years ago, Rockford 
Blacktop was looking for another gravel source since Pagel Pit was mined out of rock 
(Asche Interview). They had found geologically the terrain changes with two miles of the 
area, by testing random rock areas with in two miles range. Since Pagel Pit is not even a 
mile away, Rockford Blacktop decided to mine as much limestone out of the newly 
founded Rockview Quarry as they could. Don Swinson leased it out until spring of 2000 
(Asche Interview). 

Physically the Quarry went from a ninety feet drop to a two hundred feet drop off. 
The area the quarry takes up is approximately fifteen to twenty acres (Personal 
Experience). Now since they hit water, they had to make springs to hold the water so it 
would not turn into a premature lake (Asche Interview). 

The object of quarrying as Mike Asche said, " Rockford Blacktop' s goal is to go 
as deep into the bedrock as possible without disrupting the environment around it." 
Which is what they have been doing for the past few years and doing good job of it. To 
even start a quarry takes a lot of money and a lot of work. There are three phases needed 
to go through the process of a quarry. The first phase is starting to strip the top soil off the 
land, continuing until there is nothing but bedrock. After that is done, it is time to drill 
and dynamite the bedrock. The next step is to clean up the rock and turn it into material 






































































































;S 



Coon 3 

to sell (Asche Interview). Certain material is used for certain things. Such as road stone is 
used for driveways and small roads. Some of the rock is watered down and mixed with 
sand and used as base for building roads, buildings and embankments. The last phase into 
getting started is making a ramp about thirty feet down and going deeper into layers of 
bedrock (Asche Mike Interview). 

As comes a changing a quarry must come a changing company. Rockford 
Blacktop not only changed the quarry, but as a company has changed a lot. Rockford 
Blacktop was started in 1 942 by Bill Howard; which since 1 984 is run by his son Chuck 
Howard (Rockford Blacktop Website). About 1984, Chuck Howard took over his father's 
business as head (Asche Mike, Interview). Today, Rockford Blacktop is one of the largest 
construction companies in the Midwest. They own a majority of the quarries in the 
Rockford area, not to mention most of the commercial land around (Personal 
Experience). Now they employ today about three hundred and fifty workers (Rockford 
Blacktop Website). 

Through developing shorter ways to process the rock into material the old ways, 
which took days to do, now only take about three hours due to new methods. New 
methods now have made quarrying more efficient now then twenty years ago, such as 
excavators with ten yard buckets to dumping material into the dump trucks and semis. 
Also with conveyor belts moving the material to its destination, there is no need for the 
excavators to hand move anything anymore. Now with new equipment developing newer 
and quicker methods are being discovered, safety has been a major on-going change for 
Rockford Blacktop. Since some fatal accidents have happened with some of the heavy 


































































; y 



Coon 4 

machinery running; Rockford Blacktop is always coming up with better safety standards 
(Asche Interview). 

In 1999, Don Swinson sold the Rockview Quarry he has owned since 1965 to 
Rockford Blacktop for about one million, two hundred thousand dollars, which includes 
the scale that trucks weigh out the material they haul out. Since Donald Swinson is 
seventy years old he will be retiring next May of 2003. His business will be sold to a 
young protege by the name of Will Hoff, currently going to Purdue University for an 
engineering degree (Personal Experience). 

With Rockford Blacktop running the Rockview Quarry, it will continue to forever 
change the area around it. As long as the rock vain is still there and stone is mined from 
it. The quarry will continue to build up the Rockford area even more than before for the 
future. Once there is no stone left to mine from the quarry, Blacktop will have to fill it in 
with backfill.(Backfill is any type of rock or material dirt anything used to fill something 
in.) It may turn into the next "Pagel Pit" in the next fifteen years when it is mined out, 
after years down the road it could be the next landfill for the Midwest. By EPA law they 
will have to fill it in for environmental purposes as well as safety reasons (Asche 
Interview). 










































i> 



Coon 5 



Works Citied 

Asche, Mike. Personal Experience. November 2002. 

Chicago Insurance Company. "Abstract Title Wl/2 NE l A Section 3 1 -342" #17733. 

Coon, Alana Interview. November 2002. 

Rockford Blacktop Corporate Profile. September 27 2002.. Available 

[www.rockfordblacktop.com/profile] . 
Swinson, Joanne, Personal Experience. September 2002. 



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I: 






ROLLING GREEN/MUHL CENTER 
, A FOUNDATION BUILT FOR 

BUILDING MINDS 









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Karie Burd 

English Composition, 

Rock Valley College 

Fall 2002 













































Burd 1 



Karie Burd 
12-12-02 
English 101RRM 



Rolling Green/Muhl Center 
A Foundation Built For Building Minds 




Rolling Green School is not just a building; it is a building with a heart, a heart 
that flows through-out its arteries of hallways. The flow is the many children that 
attend the school. Children from all walks of life, some very special and unique 
children, whom have been blessed by Muhl Center. 

Plans to build Rolling Green School in 1949, helped to bring growth to the 
Rolling Green community. In the'50s it was home for many middle-class families, and 
still is today. 

Rolling Green School was conceived due to annexation. Growth in the late '40s 
and early '50s brought a need for more schools. Personal income nearly tripled 
between 1940 and 1955. As the city limits continued to push out-ward, 
accommodations needed to be made for the expanding city. Other schools to be built 
at this time along with Rolling Green were Haskell, Maud Johnson, Conklin, and 
Lathrop Elementary School. In 1950 the Rockford census was 92,927 people, growing 
to 105,438 in 1952, making Rockford the fastest growing city in Illinois (Cunningham 
13). 

When the first bids for the Rolling Green School came in, the Board found 






• 


















. 












:-' 



Burd2 



them to be about $ 40,000 over the funds available. Eight general contractors 
submitted bids, ranging from a high of $578,000 to the low of $459,777. The low bid 
was from Holm-Page Company. At that time, Gilbert A. Johnson, architect for the 
building, was to meet with school officials to determine what could be eliminated from 
the plans to reduce the cost ("Bids On School"). 

In March of 1950 the contract was awarded to Holm Page Company. The 
contract totaled $446,410. Decisions had been made in order to bring down the cost 
of the original bid. It was decided to keep the exterior glass blocks where specified 
because substitution of plain glass would have increased heating costs and required the 
purchase of window shades. Murals, fireplaces, and a play porch were removed from 

Exterior glass blocks, windows in kindergarten rm. 










the kindergarten specifications. Folding 




JJ-if bleachers and a suspended ceiling were 

j^ eliminated from the gymnasium specifications, 
and the installation of cases below classroom 
windows were also omitted. Blackhawk 



Electric Company received a $25,552 electrical contract and the Johnson 
Service Company was awarded a $47,874 temperature control contract ("Let $610,525 
Rolling"). 

In the school's 51 -year history, it has had only five 
principals. The first principal, Miss Evelyn Anderson, served at 
Rolling Green School for almost 25 years. 

Miss Evelyn Anderson 




Burd3 



Principal Miss Anderson, was born in Rockford, and attended Turner and Kishwaukee 
School as a young girl, and graduated from Rockford Central High School. She 
entered Northern Illinois State to become a teacher, and also attended Rockford 
College, the University of Wisconsin, the University Of Illinois, and Northern 
University (Olson).Miss Anderson first taught at Highland School of Rockford, 
teaching fourth graders. She served as principal to Wight and Sovereign School before 
her term as principal of Rolling Green (Olson). 

: (l^^^^^^^P^i Opening day presented new challenges for the 

•* 
I 

new school. One such problem developed as a result 
of the large number of children riding bicycles 
toschool. The bikes created a traffic problem of their 

^flfjj ffilfr ^nEeiffjB £ga own and a danger to children on foot. The problem 

Patrolmen at Rolling Green School 1951 

was met by a group of sixth grade boys who acted as traffic directors and watch bikes 
parked in racks, to prevent tampering ("467 Boys and Girls"). 

Miss. Anderson, who was also principal of the 62-year-old Wight 
School, noted the marked contrast between the buildings, but pointed out that old 
schools have a mellowness and tradition which new schools must build up. "In either 
case", she added, "it is the quality of the education given within the walls that really 
count" ("467 Boys and Girls"). 

Rolling Green School opened her doors in September of 1951, with 16 brand 
new classrooms, surrounded by sturdy, proud brick. Each classroom was equipped with 
its own sink, cupboards, and black-boards, which were no longer black, but green. The 




Burd4 

kindergarten rooms with their round bay windows, tee-ter-totters, and jungle gyms, 
also had their own bathrooms. The coat rooms of old were a thing of the past, now 
replaced with lockers, some in hallways, and some in the rooms. The metal lockers in 
the rooms operated simultaneously. As one was opened or closed they all would 
respond. Another extra was the double gymnasium with a folding partition, along with 
a stage. The lunchroom had tables and benches that folded up into the walls ("467 
Boys and Girls"). 

Enrollment was 467 students. City-wide 
enrollment for grades one through six was 6,423. 
JMsik: Parents at this time could outfit their child for 
Bntfl under $4.00, and a four bedroom home in the 
Ife^^ Rolling Green area went up for sale at $13,650, 
Kick lining-up at the brand-new school ("New Pupils Welcomed"; "Classifieds") 

It was reported by the custodian, Herbert Buetsch, that the tunnels under the 
building that carried all the schools heating, lighting, and plumbing supply, were easy 
to get turned around in. To date Rolling Green and only one other school are setup 
with this underground system ("467 Boys and Girls"). 






























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Utility tunnels under Rolling Green School 2002 



In 1963 after the children returned from Christmas break, a new addition was 
opened. Workmen assembled new desks to fill the new eight-room addition over the 
Christmas break. Principal Evelyn Anderson said, "The addition would relieve 
overcrowding, a condition that had progressively worsened during the past two 
years."("12 New Classrooms"). 




Eight classrooms added 1 963 



1963 addition to Rolling Green 2002 



In 1970, Rolling Green took on a major $919,033 addition that was not a part 
of the existing school, yet connected to by bricks, named Muhl Center. This Center 
was added on to provide facilities for more than 200 Rockford special education 





















, ' 



Burd6 

students. There was access from one school to the other with connecting halls. Muhl 
Center, with its sixteen new classrooms, a heated swimming pool, a learning center, 
conference, work, and multi-purpose rooms, added a new dimension to the to the 19 - 
year old Rolling Green building. The building was named in honor of William Muhl, 

a long time advocate for physically and mentally 
impaired students. Mr. Muhl was not only the 
founder of the center, but principal of the center for 
three years. He "retired" after twenty five years of 
service with the Rockford School District in 

Ground-breaking for Muhl Center. 
Ms Anderson, Mr. Muhl, and others. 

June of 1973. Mr. Muhl died three years later of a heart attack while teaching 
swimming at a summer camp. Muhl was 68 years old (Jenusevic Interview; "William 
Muhl"). 





" J 



■ ' ' ' '■ " - , 



Back of Muhl Center 2002 




Nancy Anderson, who still lives in the Rolling Green area, and serves the 
community as the Eighth Ward Alderwomen, was one of Rolling Green School's first 
students. Nancy was a member of the first kindergarten class in 1951. Nancy pointed 
out that back then kindergarten was different in the '50s. Back then, there was no 



Burd7 

"Sesame Street" or preschool for them. Kindergarten was a half-day and very basic, 
almost like daycare, and more oriented towards social training, not like today where 
kindergarteners are taught colors, numbers, reading, and writing. This is evident to 
this writer who has seen pictures of the original kindergarten classroom, with its 
abundant play equipment, to its rooms now that are full of learning aids, word walls, 
charts, and graphs, with no play equipment to be found other than outside, or in the 
gym (Johnson Interview). 

Growing up on Colorado Street, her backyard to the school, Nancy said, 
"Before Muhl Center, the park had tennis courts where the Muhl center parking lot is 
now. The Rolling Green play ground was where the center is now." She recalled the 
addition in 1963 to Rolling Green School. At that time she was in high school, at East 
High. East was the only other school with the underground utility system. Nancy 
could not remember if she ever went down in the tunnels at Rolling Green, but said, 
"It was possible." Tours were given to some pupils. This writer was given a tour by the 
Rolling Green janitorial staff, and found it to be an unforgettable experience, bent 
over, walking through the windy tunnels with pipes over head, as the air was being 
pulled through. Going through a series of small doors, much like Alice, in "Alice In 
Wonderland", being careful to open and close the doors at the appropriate time so that 
the air pressure would equalize (Johnson Interview). 

Nancy moved away after finishing school, but returned to Colorado two doors 
down from her parent's house in 1975, where she remains today. Muhl Center was 
then five years old. She recalled in the '80s, the two schools were integrated, and some 
parents, and students, were uncomfortable at first, due to change and just trying to 
adapt. Now it is so combined one would never know. Nancy stated that the diversity 































































;J 



Burd8 

of children bring such a vitality to the neighborhood. She notices the smiles of victory 
as the children overcome challenges, and obstacles. When asked about being one of the 
original students of Rolling Green, and her close ties to the school, she replied, "I 
remember being excited, but being five years old the full impact wasn't felt until later" 
(Johnson Interview). 






.pgl-gfegg 







In June of 1993, the Rolling 
Green-Muhl Center got another change, 
the addition of a new playground, with a 
new twist. It was a wheelchair-accessible 
playground. A cooperative project 
sponsored by the P.T.O, School District, 
and the Park District. It was the result of 



Opening-day of the new playground 1993 



a four year endeavor. Now the play ground is mainstreamed much like the classroom at 
the schools, with no barriers. Children can now push their friends in wheelchairs up a 
ramp that connects to the playground equipment. Kids in wheelchairs can now zip 
along a blacktop track with their peers as well ("Not Just Another Playground"). 

Another grand exterior addition was added to the schools in 1999, a dream 
child of Mary Suhr, a teacher at the school, who recognized and requested the need for 
a safe playground for her hearing impaired preschoolers. The children needed a 
smaller, enclosed, safe area to play. The existing one did not meet these needs. Mary 



. 



























Burd9 



contacted administrators to seek approval to build the playground. She held special 
meetings to gain parental support and encouraged them to help raise money for the 
project. Mary contacted various corporations, organizations, and individuals seeking 
donations. At times Mary was frustrated, as the goal of $18,000.00 seemed out of 
reach. However she never gave up. During this time she researched playgrounds, 
studying different equipment. She then contacted a contractor who specialized in 
playgrounds. Mary herself, along with her family, spent many of hours outside 
measuring and planning. Mary was ecstatic when all the money was raised on Oct. 
1998. She immediately ordered the equipment (Suhr Interview). 

The construction was delayed several times due to rain and floods. Often she 
would be seen out there after school pumping water out of the play area. She and the 
crew worked three weekends and nights after school. This was a monumental 
undertaking! The children were thrilled when they finally got to play on it in late 
November. Every thing is just their size, and the children are in a smaller, contained, 
and safe area now. Preschoolers for many years to come will enjoy the fruits of Mary 
Suhr's labor (Suhr, Interview). 





Due to her efforts Mary Suhr received the "Extra Mile Award", and the "Those 
Who Excel Award" in 1999 ("Schools Reward"; "Rockford Teacher"). 



Burd 10 



ROLLING GREEN ELEMENTARY CELEBRATES 50 YEARS 




In April 2002 
Rolling Green 
celebrated her 50 
anniversary, and Muhl 
Center her 20 . 
Alderwomen Nancy 
Johnson 

was there along with a 
hundred other 



Aid. Nancy Johnson finds her picture displayed 



students, and teachers. Mayor Box spoke at the event. Nancy recalled that many of her 
constituents went here or have children here. She said, "This school really does hold 
the neighborhood together." Nancy also stated, "I'm thrilled to see how well it's being 
taken care of." The preservation of the school is a testament to the 73-year-old Rolling 
Green neighborhood, one of the few to have a school named after it ("Johnson 
Interview"; "Students, Teachers"; "Rolling Green"). 

There have been changes to the buildings known as Rolling Green - Muhl 
Center. Rolling Green's original office is now the Northern Illinois Association office, 
and the main (Rolling Green) Office is in Muhl center. The metal lockers in the rooms 
that operated simultaneously as one would be opened or closed, are now disconnected, 
due to safety reasons. The lunch tables in the Rolling Green original building are now 
permanently secure to the wall for safety reasons as well. Other tables are used now in 






I 


















Burd 1 1 

their place. The gym's folding partition is still up and running after 50 years, but every 
now and then they need servicing. Servicemen must come all the way from Milwaukee. 

The desegregation of the two schools has influenced growth, and change from 
diversity to acceptance. Growth in turn has give birth to quality. Rolling Green - Muhl 
Center is a place our children can be built up. 

Rolling Green School has served her community well, educating, and building 
up its growing population of eager young bodies, and minds, and influencing even 
more growth in her foundation, and community. Rolling Green School has changed in 
many ways over the years, and yet the life- giving blood remains that flows through it. 
The diversity of children continues to bring life to the building, along with its 
dedicated and passionate staff. 



Burd 12 



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Rolling Green School 
Original Building 




Rolling Green School 
Addition 963 



Rolling Green School 
Muhl Center Addition 
1970 















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Burd 13 
Works Cited 

"12 New Classroom Open Today At Rolling Green, Haskell Schools" Rockford Morning 

Star Jan . 3, 1963. 
"50 th . Anniversary", Students, Teachers Relive Memory Rockford Register Star April 3, 

2000, Photographer Eddy Monville. 
"467Boys and Girls Enrolled for Initial Tear of school" Rockford Morning Star Sept. 30, 

1951. 
"1963 Addition" Photographer , this writer. 
"Back of Muhl Center" Photographer , this writer. 
"Bid On School Exceed Funds $40,000 Too High" Rockford Morning Star . Feb. 23, 

1950. 
"Classifieds" Rockford Morning star . Sept. 7, 1951. 
"Coming Home To Rolling Green", Personal interview. (news-clipping)-photographer 

unknown. 
Cunningham, Pat, "Big Town Little City" Bannon Multimedia Group 2000. 
"Eight new classrooms", 12 New Classroom Open Today At Rolling Green, Haskell 

Schools Rockford Morning Star Jan . 3, 1963, Photographer unknown. 
"Glass blocks" Rockford Morning Star . Sept. 30, 1951 - photographer unknown. 
"Ground Break" Personal interview. (news-clipping),Photographer unknown. 
Jenusevic, Kathy. Personal interview. Aug.30,2002. 
Johnson, Nancy. Personal interview. Oct. 18, 2002. 
Rockford Morning Star Sept. 30, 1 95 1, Photographer unknown. 
"Let $610,525 Rolling Green School Jobs" Rockford Morning Star . March 3, 1950. 



















































;-> 



Burd 14 

"Line up" Rockford Morning Star . Sept. 7, 1951 - photographer unknown. 

"Miss Anderson" Photographer unknown. 

"Miss Anderson" Rolling Green Flash . Sept. 17, 1951 (school paper) Photographer 
unknown. 

"New Pupils Welcomed in City School" Rockford Morning Star . Sept. 7, 1951. 

"Not Just Another Playground" Rockford Register Star June 3, 1993. 

"Not Just Another Playground" Rockford Register Star June 3, 1993 Photographer , Eddy 

Montvila. 

Olson, Janice Rolling Green Flash . Sept. 17, 1952 (school's paper). 

"Opening-day", "Not Just Another Playground", Rockford Morning Star June 3,1993. 

"Patrolmen" Rockford Morning Star . Sept, 30, 1951 - photographer unknown. 

"Preschool Playground" Illustration and photos obtained by Personal interview Mary 
Suhr). 

"Rockford Teacher Gets State Honor" Rockford Register Star Sept. 17, 1999. 

"Rolling Green Marks 50 Years Of Change, Diversity, Quality" Rockford Register Star 

April 3,2002. 

"Schools Reward Involvement" Rockford Register Star April 23,1999. 

"Students Teachers Relive Memories" Rockford Register Star April 3, 2002. 

Suhr, Mary. Personal interview. Oct. 25, 2002. 

"Utility Tunnels", photographer, Karie Burd. 

"William Muhl, Educator, Dies" Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Library. 



Rolling Green Elementary 



Where No Child Is Left Behind 











Brooke Nash 

English Composition 

Rock Valley College 

Fall 2002 



Rolling Green Elementary 

The building of Rolling Green Elementary was a solution to a growing and 
overcrowded Rockford Public School system. The city had to do something with the 
population at right around 90,000 people and growing. Welsh and Hallstrom Elementary 
schools had exceeded their capacity limits for students ("Rockford History..."). 

Located on a 20-acre lot at 3615 Louisiana Rd, Rolling Green Elementary is 
located on the southeast side of Rockford, in a very family-oriented neighborhood by the 
name of Rolling Green. Rolling Green stands out with its well-kept lawn and one-story 
building. Its architectural design is not like any other school. Around the back there is a 
new playground and cemented area for the children to use during P.E. class and recess. In 
the front of the building there is a very large area big as a football field with Rolling 
Green's sign. Also in the front of the building is a big flagpole. For security purposes all 
visitors must go through the doors in the circular drive and check in at the office directly 
to the right inside. 



Nash 2 




Front View of Rolling Green Elementary 
(Personal Photo by Author) 



In October of 1945, the Agreement for Deed was made up between the Rockford 
Board of Education and the property owners, Jennie Sophia Garrett and Thomas Garrett 
("Winnebago"). This school would be named after the area it was built in. Gilbert A. 
Johnson, Rockford school architect knew just exactly what needed to be done. Rolling 
Green Elementary would be the newest addition to the Rockford Public School District. 

Finally on November 19, 1949, after four years of planning, the Rockford Public 
school district hired Anderson Bros. Contractors to grade and level the 20-acre site 
located on Louisiana Road. The following fall, the school opened with one wing 
operational that had 16 classrooms for the school children to use ("Rolling Green 
Site..."). 



Nash 3 

In November 195 1, the school had been opened one year for students, W. Ray 
Mcintosh, Rockford Superintendent announced that Rolling Green Elementary would be 
opened and dedicated to public inspection on Sunday December 2, 1951. Lawrence A. 
Johnson, chairman of the buildings and grounds committee of the Rockford Board of 
Education would be presiding at the dedication of Rolling Green ("Dedication.... 1 '). 

By 1962, there was an enrollment of 715 pupils and more classrooms were 
desperately needed ("City School Enrollment..."). In January of 1963 there were eight 
classrooms and washroom facilities added on. Because of the addition to the school, the 
Rockford Public School District contemplated turning Rolling Green into a junior high 
school. There were also thoughts on using eight acres of the land that Rolling Green sat 
on to build another elementary school if the junior high school proposal went through 
("$4.36 Million School..."). All of these proposals were turned down. 

In the 1960s, there was a lot of discussion about the physically and mentally 
handicapped children. Concerned parents were worried that their children would not be 
able to receive the adequate kind of attention and supplies they would need in the school 
system. In March of 1960, William Muhl, the principal of Freeman school for the 
handicapped presented a speech about handicapped children. He said, "Handicapped 
children want to be apart of, not apart from the rest of society" ("Special Ed 
Children..."). 

In October of 1970, the Rockford Public Schools decided that they would open up 
a Special Education Center at Rolling Green. Today, this is known as the Muhl Center 
known today. This addition included a 40x60-foot swimming pool and a second 
gymnasium. This center accommodated children with physical and mental handicaps. It 



Nash 4 

is a center for children with hearing impairments. The total cost of this new addition on 
Rolling Green was $1 million. Allen, Patton, and Associates did all designs. Scandroli 
Construction Co. was responsible for building it ("Special Ed Center..."). 

Since the addition was made for the Muhl Center, Rolling Green was not worked 
on again until 1978 when the Rockford School District went around to all the public 
schools and did estimates on repairs for the buildings. It was estimated that it would take 
59,000 dollars to make repairs on Rolling Green ("School Repair Bills..."). 

In June of 1993, Rolling Green opened up their wheelchair accessible playground. 
This was a great opportunity for the children with special needs not only to interact with 
the other students in the classroom but also outside of the classroom. They had a budget 
of around 58,000 dollars. This was achieved through fundraisers, donations, and a grant 
from the State Department of Energy and Natural Resources ("Special Ed Evolves. . ."). 

Today, Rolling Green has a total of 69 classrooms. There are 5 10 students and 40 
certified employees (Jansen). Rolling Green School has a kindergarten through 5th grade 
elementary program which includes self-contained and resource classes for students who 
have learning disabilities, speech and language concerns, or who are physically, mentally, 
socially, emotionally, hearing, or visually impaired. Rolling Green Elementary School is 
one of the first schools to initiate mainstreaming and inclusion of special education 
students into regular education classrooms ("Rolling Green"). The writer of this essay has 
a child that attends Rolling Green. Because of the Muhl Center being a part of this 
elementary school it has given the writer's daughter a chance to interact on a daily basis 
with children that have special needs. This has given her child the chance to experience 
many new things that a child would not experience if attending a different elementary 



Nash 5 

school. Rolling Green understands that the children with special needs do not want to be 
left out. Because of this Rolling Green offers sign language clubs to teach the children so 
they can interact more efficiently with the special education students. 



- 

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Rolling Green Elementary 
(Personal Photo By Author) 



Works Cited 
"$4.36 Million School Building Plan Studied." Rockford Register Star. Rockfordiana 

Files. Rockford Public Library. Schools Folder. 1963. 
"Dedication to New School." Rockford Register Star. Rockfordiana 

Files. Rockford Public Library. Schools Folder. 1951. 
Jansen, Virginia. Interview. 1 November 2002. 

Front View of Rolling Green Elementary. Personal Photo by Author. October 2002. 
"Rockford History 1950-1954." Welcome to Rockford Illinois. Website. 

http://www.rockfordillinois.com/chron4.htm 
"Rolling Green." Profiles of Schools. Website. 

http://www.rps205.com/profiles/elementary/iinggrn/index.htm 
Rolling Green Elementary. Personal Photo by Author. October 2002. 
"Rolling Green Site Grading Contract Let." Rockford Register Star. Rockfordiana 

Files. Rockford Public Library. Schools Folder. 1949. 
"School Repair Bills in Millions Rockford Register Star. Rockfordiana 

Files. Rockford Public Library. Schools Folder. 1978. 
"Special Ed Center Plans Open House." Rockford Register Star. Rockfordiana 

Files. Rockford Public Library. Schools - Special Folder. 1970. 
"Special Ed Children." Rockford Register Star. Rockfordiana 

Files. Rockford Public Library. Schools - Special Folder. 1960. 
"Special Ed Evolves." Rockford Register Star. Rockfordiana 

Files. Rockford Public Library. Schools - Special Folder. 1993. 
"Winnebago County." Agreement For Deed. October 22, 1945. 



OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center 



Linh Nguyen 



English 101, Rock Valley College 



Fall 2002 



Linh Nguyen 
November 20, 2002 
English 101, NC 

OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center 

The development of OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center was required by the 
society and the growth of population. Since 1898, Rockford had been growing, starting 
to build more buildings such as a courthouse, train station, and a dancing school. They 
opened one hospital in "Rockford city on the west side with ten beds in 1885" (Gustafson 
9), but in the east they needed to have one more hospital. The population was growing in 
later years, so they had to make the hospital bigger. 

"The Rockford Saint Anthony Hospital was first promoted by the late William 
Crotty in 1898-1899. At that time, the old Schmauss homestead at the top of the East 
State Street hill was offered for sale for $12,000" (St. Anthony... 5). Mr. Crotty and 
many of the doctors and church people of the city raised $6,000 toward the purchase of 
the big brick building and the six sisters who were first in charge of the effort obtained a 
loan of $6,000 from the mother house in Peoria. This money was to be paid back to the 
mother house without interest and in as large installments as the sisters here could raise. 
(The six sisters came from Germany to Iowa in 1875. In 1876, six sisters were sent by 
mother M. Xavier to establish a hospital in Illinois, then the sisters visited Rockford to 
decide that they could start another hospital in the city)- "The six sisters transformed a 
home into a hospital" (Gustafson 1 0). They remodeled everywhere in the house to turn in 
a hospital, after they finished remodeling the hospital, "the hospital was ready to open" 
(Gustafson 10). "In just five months of operation, the hospital had cared for 71 patients, 
the next year there were up to 200 patients" (Gustafson 1 1 ). 












* 



, ' 



Nguyen 2 

The population in Rockford was growing, and the Saint Anthony Hospital was 
also growing. In 1915, the sisters decided to open a nurse training school. The College 
of Nursing became a four-year institution, and "by the year 1915, there were 2,502 nurses 
had graduated. In the beginning of 1922, the Nurses Training School was renamed Saint 
Anthony Hospital School of Nursing" (Gustafson 15). In 1918, the Swedish American 
Hospital was opened on Charles Street, next to Saint Anthony Hospital. There were 55 
beds with the cost $175,000. They opened another hospital because there were too many 
patients, so the physicians could easily take care of the patients. 

In 1959, the sisters decided to remodel the hospital into a nursing home, and build 
the new hospital at a different area. When Ralph Baudhuin, Lou Bachrodt, Jim Dunn, 
and Bishop looked at the site, they all agreed that the site was the right place to build a 
new building. "The site was the Corlett family farmland for more than a century" 
(Gustafson 24). Beth Habbits is one of the daughters of the Corletts; she said that her 
father dealt with the hospital, so that is why they sold it to the sisters. The site cost about 
$ 169,582. "For the first time in 60 years, Saint Anthony Hospital asked the community 
for financial help. They asked the citizens of Rockford for $2.5 million toward their $4.5 
million goal" (Gustafson 26). The new hospital was about five miles away from the old 
hospital, and placed next to the new Rockford College. 

They started the construction in October of 1960. The new hospital had three 
floors and a basement, "The sisters were scheduled to be ready and move in by May 
1963, but the construction was going well, and the building was completed ahead of 
schedule for months" (Gustafson 27). They moved to the new hospital on February 2, 
1963. Before they moved in, new equipment was delivered at the new hospital; only 


















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Nguyen 3 

some of the old equipment was relocated. "One week before they moved in, the sisters 
invited the public to an open house at the new hospital. There were 19,000 people in 
attendance" (Gustafson 28). When they moved the supplies to the new hospital, 
everything had to be moved carefully. "Paul Lindstedt was a member of the advisory 
board and district commercial manager of the Illinois Bell. He helped plan to move 
equipment and patients" (Gustafson 28). The old and the new hospital, only five miles 
apart, required them to make more than 30 trips to move everything. Of course, they 
needed a lot of help. There were members of the General Chauffeurs and Sale Drivers 
local 325 people and Mild & Ice Cream Drivers and Local Employees 482 volunteered to 
spend their time to help" (Gustafson 28). 

"In 1963, there were 200 beds, requiring having enough heat, enough electricity, 
and the air conditioning. They built the unique aluminum honeycomb screens to deflect 
the sunrays to help the building keep cooler and help reduce air conditioning expenses. 
The cost of the screens was about $ 1 50,000. They planned are to add a fourth floor 
(Gustafson 35). 

In front of the building, there is a big parking lot that could contain hundreds of 
cars. In the middle of the parking lot, especially in the evening, night-lights start to light 
up just like the stars in the sky. The building is uphill, and the parking lot is downhill, 
about nine steps of stairs to the building. Beside the stairs, one could walk by the round 
sidewalk, too. On both sides of the stairs and sidewalk, there are many kinds of flowers 
with different colors, and some tall trees are in the middle of these flowers. 

The building is like big square blocks put together. Some square blocks are 
bigger than the others, with white-yellowish bricks. On the very top of the building there 












• 












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Nguyen 4 

are squares smaller than at the bottom, and white. Glass windows surround the building 
with fences covering half of the windows. There are two front porches attach to the 
building. The one on the left was open and supporting its roof with brick, one on the 
right was covering around like a building, with some of the glass windows and attach to 
the door to enter to the building. Up above on the right porch, there are two statues. One 
is a young man holding a child, and one is an old man, and they are standing. The words 
OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center with white color sticks to the top outside of the right 
porch. To the left of the hospital, about a few steps apart, there is a Saint Anthony 
College Of Nursing for those people to get training to become a nurse at OSF. 

Some similarities are that the old and the new building are in the same city. The 
old building was located on East State Street and the new building is also located on East 
State Street, but they are about five miles apart from each other. The old building had 
three floors; the new building also had three floors when it was first built. In recent 
years, a fourth floor has been added to the new building. "Both buildings have an 
operating room for major surgery, one for minor operations, one for eye, ear and throat 
treatment, delivery rooms, operating room for emergency cases, an X-ray department, 
and a clinical laboratory to help all the patients with their sickness" (Cicero Interview). 
Both buildings' outside walls were made of pale-yellow brick. Both buildings were built 
because they were needed by the city to "show their love for god in a practical way, 
caring for the sick, the poor, the injured, aged, and dying, with compassion and love" 
(Gustafson 8). 

The old and the new building have some similarities, but there are also some 
differences between them. First of all, although both buildings were on East State Street, 



Nguyen 5 

they were in different areas. There was a reason that the current site was chosen to build 
the new building. "At the new building area was quieter than at the old building area. 
For example, the new building area was not near the road, so the patients could not get 
bothered by the sound of the cars running around. 

"The land was larger and more convenient for all the people in town to get there 
more easily than the old building. The parking lot at the new building was bigger than at 
the old building, so could contain hundred of cars" (Cicero Interview). "The new 
building was built larger than the old building. The new building was built because the 
development of the hospital, the number of patients of hospital was growing so they 
needed more room for the patients" (Shah Interview). 

Because the population was growing in Rockford, and there were many people 
getting sick, they had to build a new building that was large enough for all the people in 
town. "The new building has more new modern equipment than the old building. For 
example, in 1915, when the nurses updated the patient s chart, they had to update it by 
hand by writing on a paper, but today at the new hospital, they update the patient's chart 
by the computer. Even the operating machine, X-ray machine and many machines used 
more modems than before at the old hospital. 

Before the old hospital did not have a helicopter for an emergency, only an 
ambulance, but today is different. For example, if anyone really has an emergency, they 
use the helicopter because it only takes a few minutes to get to a patient who need an 
emergency" (Tim Interview). 

Those are all the reasons why and how they built this building. This is an 
important structure in Rockford because it is a tremendous help to the people in this city. 



Nguyen 6 



This wonderful building helps people in times of need and sickness. This building is 
irreplaceable. 



Linh Nguyen 
English 101, NC 
October 18, 2002 

Works Cited 

Cicero, Sally. Personal Interview. October 2002. 

Gustafson, Gerrie, editor: The History of OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center, 100 Yrs of 

the Healing Spirit. Copyright 1999 OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center. 

Available [http://www.osfhealth.com]. 
Lim, Edison. Personal Interview. October 2002. 
"OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow". No date 

available. OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center Women's Center. 9 September 

2002. < http://www.osfhealth.com/history.html >. 
OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center. Rockford, Illinois. Photo by Dave Friedrich, 

Rockford Register Star. Date of photo unknown. 
"Saint Anthony's Health Center". No date available. History. 9 September 2002. 

< http://www.sahc.org/history.html >. 
Shah, Aruna. Personal Interview. October 2002. 
"St. Anthony". 8 November 1993. Saint Anthony Medical Center. 9 November 2002. 

<http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/public/busreview/medctr.htm>. 
St. Anthony's Hospital, Rockford, Illinois 1899-1924. Pamphlet. 6 August 1986. 




The Schmauss home before it was 
converted into Saint Anthony Hospital 




The Sisters who opened the Hospital in 1899, 
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Grace Adams 
Eng. 101 RRM 
24 November 2002 
Archival Essay 



A Diamond in the Rough 
Saint Patrick Catholic Church 



This journey is to educate and enlighten. The phrase "Upon this Rock"(Jude) comes 
to mind, that all is possible if one has faith. Through the rubble of the past one 
can find the building blocks of the future. St. Patrick is the perfect example of 
this statement. To be original, to evolve, and to become great is the perfect stepping 
stones of what will be. The simple beginnings of this church, to a great influence in the 
community and the strength that is St. Patrick's church is all about commitment. 

St. Patrick started from the very humblest beginnings. The year was 1919 and the 
population of Rockford was growing. People on the West Side were gathering together 
to celebrate their faith. The people gathered in the hall of St. Thomas High School. This 
was a temporary place for the church. The pastor of this time was Rev. Walter J. Scollin, 
who had just returned from World War I as service chaplain. On August 31, 1 9 1 9, the 
community gathered together to celebrate their first mass. There were 310 families (S.P. 
"50" Years). The people gathered together, but there was no name for this 
church. A meeting was held with the parishioners to decide the name. The honor was 
given to James O'Brien to name the church, because he had donated $1000 to the 
building fund for the church to be built (S.P. "50" Years). He picked the name St. 
Patrick in memory of his father Patrick O'Brien who traveled 14 miles every Sunday to 
attend Mass in Rockford (S.P. "50" Years). 



G. Adams 2 

It was Bishop Peter J. Muldoon who purchased four adjoining lots as the 
site for the new church, two on West State Street and two on Royal Avenue at the cost of 
$13,500 (S.P. "50" Years). The ground was broken in May, 1920 and the 
construction was completed the second week of November 1920 at the cost of $26,500. 
The first mass was held on November 14, 1920 (S.P. "50" Years). The church was 
very simple and small. It looked like a World War I chapel. The altar inside was small 
and so were the statues. They were made of wood and were very beautiful (Adams Int.). 
The growth in the parish continued. The growth was tremendous, still it was obvious the 
this church that was built would also be a temporary place of worship (S.P. "50" Years). 

Next, it was decided that the need for a more permanent place was obvious. 
The Pastor at this time was Fr. Laurence C. Pendergast, who saw the continued growth of 
this parish. With this in mind, Fr. Pendergast made a vigorous campaign to build a new 
church and rectory. After careful campaigning, Fr. Pendergast" s dream came true. Then, 
the task was to find a location for the church that could serve the people in the West End. 

Then, ten acres of land were purchased on the northwest corners of School St. and 
Johnston Ave. The support of the people was tremendous. This new church was to be a 
living testimony of their faith. It was to be a symbol of extreme beauty for the service of 
God (S.P."50" Years). This new church was not to be built only for practical purposes of 
worship. The purpose was to elevate the mind and heart to spiritual enlightenment. This 
church was to be outstanding in grandeur and sublimity (S.P. Dedication). 



























■,.-' 



G. Adams 3 

Next, ground was broken for the new church on June 8, 1950. 
It was time for the construction of this massive building. The church was to be 
141 feet x 65 feet and was to accommodate over 750 worshippers. The new St. Patrick's 
was to be modified Gothic architecture, with arches pointing heavenward like hands 
pressed together in prayer (S.P. Dedication). The skeletal structure of the church 
was made of steel and reinforced concrete. The finished outside was Indiana limestone 
(S.P. "50" Years). The architects were K.M. Vitzthum and J. & J. Burns. Doing 
the construction of this site was Joseph J. Duffy Co., Wilson Electric Co. of Rockford did 
the electrical work in the building. Wagner Bros, did the beautiful stained glass 
windows. William J. Anderson Construction Co. great masonry work (S.P. Dedication). 

This icon was an amazing task. The church is enormous. The church has a large 
sanctuary, two sacristies, and a choir room, a mothers' room, baptistery, office, 
lavatories, and a vestibule (S.P. "50"Years). The statues are made of marble and are life 
size. The stained glass windows are breath taking and they represent different ethnic 
backgrounds. On the West Side, one window presents St. Anthony for the Italian people. 
St. Stanislaus is pictured for the Polish. St. Casimir appears in a window for the 
Lithuanian parentage. St. Bridget of Sweden is representative of the Scandinavian. St. 
Patrick is in east window for the Irish. The East side windows also represent the sisters 
and priest who labored at St. Patrick's. For Dominican Sisters of Sinisinawa St. Dominic 
is shown. For priests St. Walter is pictured for Fr. Scollin, St. Francis de Sales for Fr. 
Francis Keenan. St. Lawrence for Fr. Laurence Pendergast, and St. Francis of Assisi for 
Fr. Francis McNalley (S.P. "50" Years). The Stations of the Cross are absolutely 



G. Adams 4 

breath taking; they are the originals from an artist in Chicago which were donated by Fr. 
Pendergast's brother (S.P. "50" Years). Each altar inside was laid with marble and 
brass, the craftsmanship on these are stunning. Everything about the new St. Patrick's is 
larger than life. The cost of this icon when finished was over $600,000. There were no 
conflicts except the weather once in a while (S.P. Dedication). 

The community of this church was very excited. This church was a symbol of their 
commitment and devotion to their faith and to the community. The new Church was a 
sign of times. It promoted what accomplishments could be possible. The Church was 
completed on May 10, 1952. The first mass and dedication of the new St. Patrick Church 
was on May 20, 1952 (S. P. Dedication). There were around 1000 or more people in 
attendance, all were overjoyed and full of pride at their achievement 
(Graw Int.). 

The contributing pastors of the time were as follows: Rev. Walter J. Scollin, the 
founding priest of the parish. Fr. Scollin watched a no name group of people evolve into 
St. Patrick's Catholic Church. Then, there was Rev. Francis J. Keenan, a 
man with tremendous commitment to the parish (Adams Int.). Fr. Keenan had 
great aspirations to make sure a school would be built for these supportive people. The 
school was built and completed (S.P. tk 50"Years). Rev. Pendergast started the new 
construction of this great church. Rev. Francis McNalley was very insistent that there be 
a school be built for this growing parish (S.P. tw 50"Years). Unfortunately, Fr. 
McNalley was killed in a plane crash in Oct. 1957. By 1969, a great priest named Fr. 



G. Adams 5 
McDonnell was the pastor of St. Patrick. He was the seventh and the longest staying 
pastor of St. Patrick (S.P. Church of 1997). 

One of the biggest assets St. Patrick's has to offer is the community involvement. It is 
an intricate part of every day life for the people who live around there as well as for the 
church. St. Patrick's has The Food Pantry, which gives food to people 
who need it. It has the Clothes Closet, which provides clothes for those in need. St. 
Patrick's also has the Hispanic group and the black ministry group. Along with those it 
has the Silver Shamrocks, Holy Name Society, Caritas, and neighborhood organizations. 
St. Patrick has started the Legion of Mary which is the army of Mary Immaculate. The 
members offer their services to Pastor to aid him in bringing souls to Jesus. All of these 
ministries and groups help to provide a better life for the people in the community 
(S.P. Directory 1992). 

St. Patrick's has always been well diverse community (S.P. "50"Years). The people 
involved in these groups are all volunteers from the church and community. The 
community gives back to the church and vise versa. 'There is not another church in the 
Rockford Diocese that can do what St. Patrick's already does for the community "(Adams 
Int.). "No other church in Rockford could even attempt to accomplish what St. Patrick's 
has accomplished" (Barb Pierce Int.). 

The church of St. Patrick is an epic sign of devotion and sacrifice of all the people 
who made it happen. From simple beginnings to great accomplishments, that is what is 
possible if one believes. Something this divine has much more to discover and give. 



G. Adams 6 

In conclusion, this author reflects on the history of St. Patrick's. One can see the 
evolution in this church due to the people's involvement. St. Patrick has always been an 
ethnic diverse community from it's very beginning. Now St. Patrick has continued the 
tradition, the ethnicity has changed but the people's faith, love, and commitment to the 
Church has not. One can see the astonishing achievements that were made in the past, 
and wonders how to improve upon or continue to build upon this great icon. This 
community needs this magnificent role model to carry on the tradition that goes along 
with it's history. This author hopes and prays that all that has happened in past and 
present will be great stepping stones for the future of St. Patrick Church and its people. 






j 



Works Cited 
Adams, John & Carol. Personal Interview. September 2002. 
Bradley, Deloras. Personal Interview. October 2002. 
Graw, Ronald. Personal Interview. October 2002. 
Pierce, Barbara. Personal Interview. October 2002. 
S.P., Church of 1997 Author Unknown. 
S.P. Dedication May 1 0, 1 952 Author Unknown. 
S.P. Directory 1992 Author Unknown. 
S.P. Parish Family 1986 Author Unknown. 
S.P. "50 Years Upon This Rock" 1969 Author Unknown. 
Wright, Anna Personal Interview. November 2002. 



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The Last Remaining Wet Swamp and Lagoon is Disappearing 



At Shorewood Park 



by 



Rogelio Gonzalez Sanchez 

English 101, Archival Essay 

Professor Fisher 

12 December 2002 



Rogelio-1 

The Last Remaining Wet Swamp and Lagoon is Disappearing 

At Shorewood Park 

Wetlands are defined by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife as natural habitats containing 
wet soils and water tolerant plants that experience variable periods of moisture 
throughout the year. Once thought to be unproductive and drained for agricultural 
purposes, wetlands contain a rich diversity of flora and fauna providing food and shelter 
for migratory birds and other species native to these habitats. Wetlands also regulate 
flooding and groundwater recharge (Campell 4). The wetland at Shorewood Park "has a 
very complex ecosystem supporting many species... and nesting habitats and feeding 
ground for fish and waterfowl. It is one of the few remaining marsh wetlands left in the 
Rockford area" (1). It also includes a lagoon. Both are in danger of disappearing. 

Presettlement Loves Park had abundant wetlands along the Rock River creating 
swamps, and sloughs. Wooded lands were also prevalent near the river (4). Later, 
between 1840 and 1900, Loves Park was basically a rural American landscape dominated 
by farming and the seasonal cycles of rural life (26). In 1901, Malcom A. Love, Rockford 
industrialist, civic leader, alderman, avid conservationist, fishing and gun enthusiast, who 
lived between 1859 and 1930, purchased the 236-acre farm from Francis A. Weldom. Mr. 
Love used his new property exclusively as a private park and recreation area, inviting 
friends and associates. Love's "Park" gradually became a popular location for summer 
picnics, baseball games, boating excursions, and outings (21). 



;J 



Rogelio-2 

By 1909, the Rockford Park District (RPD) was founded. The RPD was ahead of 
its time in creating parks and recreational facilities "to help people enjoy life" (3). In 
1958, the RPD Board purchased a 36-acre tract of property fronting on the east bank of 
the Rock River ("Good Move" NP) from Mrs. Adlyn Hobson for $58,000. (Research still 
has to be conducted to know how Mrs. Hobson got her property from Mr. Love). The 
board members responsible for the purchase were: Seth B. Atwood, President of the 
Board, Dr. Robert F. Schleicher, Reuben Aldeen, Francis Colehour, and R.F. Dahlquist. 
This purchase was considered a good move for the RDP since the land was the last 
remaining wooded area with wetland close to Rockford. 

One year later, in 1959, the RPD was looking for a name for its newest park. In a 
contest to pick a name staged by the RPD, Maria Wallace, a sixth grader, won the contest 
among Loves Park school age children. "Shorewood Park" was the winning name among 
over 700 submitted. How did she pick the name? She said, "It's on the river's shore and 
it has woods. And I thought of Sherwood Forest in England, and this is kind of like that, 
so I thought of "Shorewood."" The prize for Marcia was a $150 portable television set 
("The Winner" NP). 

Shorewood Park is located at Evelyn Avenue and Forest Grove Street in Loves 
Park (See map #1). 



Rogelio-3 

For the next few years, there were no improvements in the park, which caused 
much criticism. As early as 1961, three years after the RPD purchased Shorewood Park, 
the article "Beloit Eases Boaters' Launching Problem; Will Rockford Take the Hint?" 
criticized the lack of development of the park by stating, "This is Shorewood Park, which 
the park board hasn't developed ..." (RPD Files). In 1963, another article "Action Long 
Overdue" by the Post emphasized the previous, "As a RPD project, the creation of 
Shorewood Park... has been criminally neglected ("Action Long" NP). 

Finally, a project was born in 1964. The RPD, with a budget of $132,660, planned 
major improvements in the park. These included: clearing the woods, dredging the lagoon 
deeper and constructing a boat launching facility. The area on the edge of the lagoon 
would be covered with sand to create a beach area, build a playground, create parking 
areas and a shelter house with restrooms ("Park District" NP). Initial work began in the 
winter of 1964 by clearing the woods of dead elms, undergrowth and debris. It lasted 
until the beginning of 1967. The park opened after the initial work was done in the 
summer of this year ("Open Shorewood" NP). 

Bad news was in store for the lagoon. In August of 1967, Loves Park City 
Council voted thumbs down on the boat launching project and with it the dredging of the 
lagoon. Some 164 residents of Loves Park's Third Ward opposed the boat ramp charging 
that it would turn proposed access routes, Junius and Forest Grove Streets, 



Rogelio-4 

into noisy thoroughfares. Robert Milne, Assistant Director of the Park District, pointed 
out that if the boat launching facility was not built, the lagoon, which had been a source 
of irritation to residents, might not be dredged. At the same time, Mayor Daniel Timmis 
hinted, "as far as the swamp is concerned, it will be have to be taken care of and cleaned 
up. There are other laws to handle this" ("Park Council" NP). In spite of these arguments, 
the lagoon never has been dredged. 

Ruth and Orley Larson remember how the lagoon looked like in the early '80s, 
"Ducks used to swim underneath the observation deck and both sides. The lagoon was 
full of water. The water used to reach the tree line all the way around. And there used to 
be a beaver hut at the end of the observation deck," said Mr. Orley. What happened to the 
beavers? Ruth responded, "I think they caught the beavers, tore the hut up and moved the 
beavers somewhere else. They did not kill the beavers" (Larson Int.). 

Map #1 shows all major improvements to the park until 1986, but the once 
healthy, wet, vibrant swamp and lagoon (See photo #1 and #2) are dying. The lack of 
maintenance to the lagoon is causing it to disappear. Since 1 964, there have been plans 
for dredging the lagoon and covering the edges of the lagoon with sand to form a beach 
("Work Starts" NP). At present, it has not happened. Little by little, the lack of 
maintenance has been causing people and animals to avoid visiting the lagoon. 

From the writer's point of view, the accumulation of sand in the lagoon is due to 
sand particles that have been dragged by the water drainage ditch stream that discharges 
into the lagoon. This stream might also push dirt into the lagoon. Garbage, dirt, fallen 



Rogelio-5 

trees and branches have accumulated in the stream's path to work as a dam. That causes 
water to rise and wash away the dirt from the roots of the trees. Trees fall by this effect, 
which repeats over and over with high volume of water discharge. The lagoon cannot 
afford to accumulate more dirt and sand. The damage is serious, and it might be 
irreversible if the lagoon is not dredged now. 

Through this paper, the writer would like to make a proposal for enhancement of 
the lagoon and swamp at Shore wood Park. This project is divided in three programs, 
which will transform a decaying park into a wonderful place to enjoy. 

The first program is called "A Lagoon for Enjoyment through Physical 
Improvements." This program will recover the natural beauty of the lagoon and its 
surroundings. First, it will dredge the lagoon and propose measures to stop the sand from 
entering the lagoon by constructing sand traps in the drainage ditch path. Second, this 
program will protect the borders of the lagoon with rocks. Other opportunities to enhance 
the lagoon will include creating paths in the wooded area surrounding the lagoon, 
clearing the wooded area of dead trees, and rebuilding and redesigning the observation 
deck. 

The second program is called "Educational." This program will promote direct 
learning. Once the educational program is put in place, community members will learn 
the importance of wetlands through their direct observation of the flora and fauna in the 
lagoon and surroundings. A special program like "Introduction of Beavers in the Lagoon 
in a controlled area" will be a special attraction. 



Rogelio-6 

This program will also promote summer camps for youth, where young people 
will learn about animals living in the lagoon, feeding habits and animal protection. 
Throughout the educational program, people will have the opportunity to sponsor an 
animal, connecting them with the site and developing the desire to keep it in good 
condition. In order to achieve theses goals, this program will ask for support from 
community colleges like Rock Valley College Biology Department. Students will be 
involved in the implementation of the educational program. A newsletter about the site 
will be published every trimester to reach other communities. 

The last program is called "Healthy Parks." Healthy Park stimulates better 
communities. This program will improve landscaping around the lagoon. It will improve 
and maintain the wildflower area, as well as develop new garden areas. A healthy park 
program will encourage volunteers to take action in the clean up of the park and lagoon. 

The overall goal of this project will agree with the Rockford- Winnebago County 
Planning Commission. In 1972, it stated, "As the areas become more urbanized, 
recreation areas will become increasingly important as places where open space and 
natural beauty is preserved. Parks and recreation areas must be planned so that the entire 
population may have access to facilities for the use of leisure time ("Rockford- 
Winnebago" 62)." 



Rogelio-7 

Future generations deserve to enjoy the natural beauty of the last remaining 
wetland at Shorewood Park. Through the applications of these programs, this project will 
create better communities by having wonderful parks. Parks can inspire people not only 
through their beauty, but also through effective programs that stimulate knowledge and 
nature conservation. 



Works Cited 

"Action Long Overdue." The Post . 12 Dec. 1963. Rockford Park District Files. 

Campell, Craig, G. "History of Loves Park, Illinois." Rockford, Illinois: Craig G. 
Campell P.CM. 1998. 

"Good Move by Park Board." Rockford Register-Republic . 19 Sept. 1958. 
Rockford Park District Files. 

Larson, Orley & Ruth. Personal Interview. 16 Nov. 2002. 

"Open Shorewood Park 1 st Time This Summer." Mail. 13 March 1967. 
Rockford Park District Files. 

"Park Board Buys 36-Acre Tract On River Front." Rockford Register-Republic . 
18 Sept. 1958. Rockford Park District Files. 

"Park Council Votes Thumbs Down On Boat Launching." Rockford Morning 
Star . 29 Aug. 1967. Rockford Park District Files. 

"Park District Plans Long- Waited Project." The Post . 1 Oct. 1964. Rockford Park 
District Files. 

"Pathway to the marsh." 10 June 1981. Rockford Park District 
Files. 



Rockford Park District. "Seasonal Information Book." 2001. 

Rockford- Winnebago County Planning Commission. "Report No. RWCCPC-72- 
16." City of Loves Park Preliminary Comprehensive Plan. August 1972. 
Page 62. 

"The Winner is Marcia Wallace, 11; The Winning Name: Shorewood Park." 
Loves Park Post . 16 July 1959. 

"Work Starts on New Park." Rockford Register-Republic . 19 Nov. 1964. 
Rockford Park District Files. 





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Photo # 1 . Lagoon at Shorewood Park in 2002 
(Photo by Rogelio Gonzalez) 




Photo # 2. Lagoon and Wooded Bridge at Shorewood Park in 2002 
(Photo by Rogelio Gonzalez) 




<fk gift from Me <$ee<6i 

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Sue Wenger 

English Composition 

Rock Valley College 



Fall 2002 








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by 

Sue Wenger 

English Composition 

Rock Valley College 



Fall 2002 



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Wenger - 1 

A Gift from the Seedsman 

For over 100 years, farmers from all over the area have traveled to downtown 
Rockford to sell their wares (goods). Their destination has been Shumway Market, 
which was established by the late Roland H. Shumway. This journey was a necessity of 
life for farmers because farming was their livelihood. The passage to Shumway Market, 
back in the early 1900s, was a long and timely process. Today, the trip is quick, but it 
has changed considerably. Where there was once vast farmland, now has been 
developed and is hard to imagine the farmers back in the early 1900s, with their horses 
pulling wagons full of fresh picked produce and trucks full of wares, traveling this same 
road. 

Today, traveling a similar path heading west on State Street to Shumway Market, 
one can see that the area is now laden with businesses. Very little resembles the 
farmland that once sustained families for years. 

On this one road, the journey transcends through a great deal of Rockford's 
history. It is also very scenic, especially in the fall, when the trees are changing color. 
The city becomes a rainbow as the sun shimmers against the trees and illuminates 
colors that seem to bounce off each other. 

Approaching Shumway Market, the buildings are either newly constructed, free of 
maintenance, or have been standing for many years and are in great need of 
restoration. The city at this point is not very welcoming, but do not be discouraged, 
there is beauty to come. It may only be in the eyes of the writer, but some of these old 
buildings one can only imagine what they might have looked like in the early 1900s. 



Wenger - 2 

The area surrounding Shumway Market is also very old. Next door to the market 
is Midway Theater, another historical site with a tower holding a giant clock, which can 
be seen from several blocks in all directions. The Faust Hotel, across the street from 
the market, towers over a good portion of the block and has been a fixture of Rockford 
since 1929. ("Chronological..."). 




(Rockford Area Arts Council) 

As the road curves to the right of the hotel, there sits Shumway Market looking 
very fresh, but with a very old history. The small but quaint building is not busy looking, 
so therefore does not really "stand out" from its surroundings, but it is interesting to view 
the many details of the structure. It seems to invite people passing to stop in and visit. 
With two large windows located on either side of the dark stained wood front door, they 
seem to be willing the sunlight to come in and welcome strangers as they enter. 

The single story, light tan brick building has cream-colored trim around the 
windows, black iron fencing on the lower portion of the arched windows and a red clay 
tile roof. A small white ventilated dome sits on the center of the roof with a brick smoke 
stack located on the backside of the structure. 



L 



■r*> 



Wenger - 3 

In the front of the building are two fairly young locust trees no taller than the 
building. The trees are planted on the opposite side of the sidewalk away from the 
building and are situated in front of each of the arched windows. In the center of the 
building, directly in front of the door, is a replica of an old street light post with two light 
fixtures. 

The building has an alley running along the east side; while around the back 
(where the weigh station used to be) and along the right side of the building, is a public 
parking lot. Since 1904, the parking stalls have been rented to vendors who, in return, 
sell their wares. 




(Rockford Area Arts Council) 
The Shumway Market building is a true replica of what the city was like during 
the early nineteen hundreds. When looking at the structure, one can almost picture the 
people from all over the area flocking around the various stands purchasing fresh 
flowers, fruits, vegetables, and other wares being sold. The public market was open 
weekly on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, and its location was considered the center 



Wenger - 4 



of Rockford and easy to find. Even though it was located on the East side of the river, 
as Rockford has always been divided by East and West sides, the market drew 
individuals from all walks of life to personally shop for their specific needs. 




'%.;» 



Mr ^4^1 *■' iW^MI. 




(Rockford Area Arts Council) 
Rockford is very fortunate to have had a man so generous as Roland H. 
Shumway. If it had not been for him, this public market place would have never been 
built. He was the founder of a mail order seed business and the one that planted a 
seed that would forever grow in the city known as "Shumway Market." Son of David 
Smith Shumway, a driver for the Dixon-Rockford Stage, and Sally Greeley Shumway, 
Roland was born July 26, 1842, on the family farm in Kishwaukee, Illinois ("No Title"). 
In 1 861 , at the age of 1 9, Mr. Shumway enlisted in the Illinois Infantry. He was 
discharged on October 6, 1862 ("Roster of Company A..."). On January 16, 1864, he 
married Emma Davis with whom he would have six children ("R.H. Shumway..."). On 
February 4, 1865, he re-enlisted into Company "G" 153 rd Illinois Infantry and served until 
July 26, 1865 ("Roster of Company G..."). On April 9, 1865, the Civil War ended, the 
troops were sent home and Roland returned to Kishwaukee, Illinois (Gabor). 



Wenger - 5 

In 1870, his mother gave him some Jerusalem Cherry Tree seeds ("No Title"). 
He decided to advertise them in the Prairie Farmer, and offered 10 seeds "plus some 
tasty cooking recipes to the lucky first comers ("No Title")." This was the beginning of 
his retail mail order seed business, which he started from his home. As the demand 
grew, he relocated his business to Rockford where he established his seed business at 
the northeast corner of Third and State Streets. Throughout the next 1 8 years, the mail 
order seed business grew at such a pace that Shumway Seeds had to move two 
additional times in order to accommodate the growth of the company. His business 
became known throughout the world, but remained a simple mail order service ("No 
Title"). 

Mr. Shumway was an extraordinary man. During his tour of military duty, he 
became ill with bronchitis leaving him totally deaf ("R.H. Shumway..."). Yet, he was 
able to develop an extremely profitable business and become one of the wealthiest 
individuals in Rockford ("Who Pays..."). 

He was active in the community and used his personal wealth to assist others in 
need. On January 17, 1903, he purchased a lot referred to as the "Gill Lots" for a pricey 
sum of $4,513.03 ("Master's Deed"). The lot was centrally located in proportion to the 
city and covered more than a city block. Prior to the purchase, the property was 
considered a possible site for the public library and therefore, the location was well 
known by the public. 

Because of his close association with the area farmers, Mr. Shumway felt 
Rockford needed a public market place ("Fewer Sales..."). On May 2, 1904, he wrote to 
the Rockford City Council expressing the following: 



Wenger - 6 

To the Mayor and City Council of the City of Rockford: 
Gentlemen: The activities of our present Mayor and Board of Alderman in 
those things which make for a greater Rockford are commendable, 
With the miles of new sewer now being built, the eighteenth school house 
under course of construction, the twenty two acre Fair Ground Tract 
acquired for Public Park purposes, and a new City Hall and Jail provided 
for, I can see but one thing lacking, 

For the benefit of all and the poor especially, Rockford should have a 
PUBLIC MARKET PLACE where the consumer could deal direct with the 
Farmer, the Gardener and all who produce for Sale, the necessities of life. 
The value of such a place cannot be overestimated, and to make it 
possible for our City to possess a Public Market centrally located, I have 
decided to offer as a free gift to the city Lot 7 and the westerly 16 ft. of the 
northerly 231 ft. of lot 6 in Block 3 of Gregory's Add. Being 115 ft. fronting 
on E. State Street by 165 ft. in depth, provided however that the City will 
agree to put said site in a suitable condition, and too for all time maintain 
for above mentioned purpose. (Shumway) 
At the time of the gift, the land was laden with billboards and not suitable for a 
market place. In a letter to the City, Mr. Shumway made a provision that the land be 
cleared and developed to accommodate the market. With this agreement, the City 
partitioned the lot and in 1905 erected a stone arch inscribed "R.H. Shumway Market" 
honoring the contributor ("City Council"). 



■y 



Wenger - 7 




Shumway Market Archway Eauuxe (l<X)5i 

(Snyder) 



Upon completion of the arch, the City did 
not take steps to promote the farmers' market. 
The Winnebago County Pomona Grange 
intervened and designated Reverend Melvin C. 
Smith, Walter Rose, and T. W. Cleveland (all 
members of the Grange) to put the land to use 
as Mr. Shumway had stated in his letter to the 
City. The three proceeded to set a date and hire 
a band to draw attention to the market. On the opening day, not one farmer was 
present to sell his wares, but eventually, a single farmer showed and "saved the day" 
("Shumway Market Birth..."). After the grand opening, the public market grew. 

During the early nineteen hundreds, homes were heated by wood-burning stoves 
and many had livestock to feed. The farmers would bring cut wood and straw to sell, 
along with items that would keep for periods of time, such as tubers (potatoes). 
Customers purchased items by the bulk in order to have enough wood, hay, and/or 
potatoes to last the entire winter ("Where City..."). 

In 1914, over ninety growers gathered to the market to sell their wares. With the 
public market offering so many types of goods, hundreds of customers crowded to the 
market in search of the freshest produce. Vendors arrived by horse-drawn carriages 
and trucks loaded with fresh vegetables and many different types of fruits, as 



Wenger - 8 




(Rockford Area Arts Council) 
well as, livestock. Chickens sold for $0.20 per pound and grapes went for $0.30 per 
peck or $1 .00 per bushel ("Shumway Mart. . . "). 

Because the public market was growing so rapidly, in 1923, the City asked Mr. 
Shumway for his permission to build a "public comfort station." He granted the City's 
request and signed an agreement on April 27, 1923. In this agreement, he stated that: 
In consideration of One Dollar ($1.00) and for other good and valuable 
considerations this day to me in hand paid, I hereby grant unto the city of 
Rockford the right to erect and forever maintain a public comfort station on 
such part or all [the site]... as the City Council of the City of Rockford may 
at any time hereafter select. (Gregory) 
With Mr. Shumway's approval, Charles Bradley, a local architect, was hired by 
the City as the contractor to build the public comfort station (Gregory). The facility was 
designed to house the market master, a weigh master (for which a weigh scale was 
installed in the rear of the building), confectionery, comfort station, barbershop, and 



',..' 



Wenger - 9 

beauty parlor. The funds to pay for the construction of the building were raised by the 
revenues generated from the farmers market held from 1905 through 1923 ("Fewer 
Sales..."). 

Sadly, Mrs. Shumway and daughter, Myra, died prior to Mr. Shumway's gift to the 
City. Their four sons and other daughter participated in the dedication of the arch 
honoring their father, but only two sons experienced the completion of the public 
comfort station ("R.H. Shumway..."). 

Shumway Market was a tremendous success. In the 1940s and 1950s, it was 
especially strong. Even with so many families torn apart by hard times, due to the 
events going on in the world, the market survived. It was amazing that the business, 
and the building, surpassed all obstacles. The public market remained open through 
the Depression, World War II, the Korean, and Vietnam Wars ("U.S. Wars..."). 

Around the late 1950s and early 1960s, supermarkets became the common 
place to purchase groceries, including fresh produce. Higher prices charged for 
homegrown produce by the local farmers and in-home refrigeration were all attributed to 
the dwindling attendance at the public market. With the decline in sales at the market, 
revenues were not sufficient to cover the costs of maintaining the building and property 
("Grandson of..."). In March of 1963, the City Traffic Commission made a 
recommendation to the City Council to level the building and install "metered" parking 
stalls to provide additional income. The property currently had 58 stalls and if the 
building was removed, the area could accommodate 1 1 more parking stalls ("Grandson 
of..."). 



Wenger - 1 

R. Hallett Shumway, grandson of Roland Shumway, opposed this idea. He 
stated that, "City administrators had disregarded any kind of honor of any bequest that 
has been made" ("Grandson of..."). With the grandson advocating to keep the building 
and Third Ward Alderman, Ray C. Graceffa, supporting his efforts, in December of 
1 963, the City Council voted 1 3-5 in favor of maintaining the building and not converting 
it into more parking stalls ("Shumway Market Retention..."). 

In August of 1 971 , as part of the outgrowth of Earth Works Day, the American 
Institute of Architects held a "reopening" in an attempt to attract vendors and customers 
back to Shumway Market. They advertised that the public market would open at 10:00 
a.m., but customers were anxious and arrived as early as 7:00 a.m. to purchase fresh 
produce. Fresh corn, red tomatoes, white onions, black eyed peas, squash, green and 
red peppers, and cabbage were just some of the produce being sold. So many buyers 
showed up that several vendors ran out of produce and had to return to their farms to 
replenish their stock ("Townsfolk..."). 

Some vendors who participated in the reopening had been involved with 
Shumway Market for over 28 years, such as the Adamsons from Monroe Center. They 
stated that, "This market has been good to us, it helped us pay off our mortgage and 
raise our children." This event was a new beginning for the market ("Townsfolk. . ."). 
New vendors started to appear. Not only did farmers arrive to sell their produce, 
individuals, that had gardens as hobbies, were also involved in the market. 

Gardeners such as the Hummels' were one of many families of hobbyist. They 
traveled from Oregon to sell their vegetables, flowers, and homemade jellies and jams. 



Wenger - 1 1 

Mrs. Hummel's specialty was gladiolas. In the spring, she would plant over 3,000 bulbs 
just to sell at the market (Hummel Interview). 

They had over three acres of land that Mrs. Hummel passionately called "her 
garden." The garden originally started out with just a few plants and over the years it 
grew so large that she decided to sell her vegetables and flowers. Every Saturday for 
over twenty-two years, they came to Rockford to sell their wares. They continued until 
1 991 , when Mr. Hummel lost his eyesight and was unable to help Mrs. Hummel with the 
garden. It was with saddened hearts they had to stop because they met so many 
people and the vendors became as one family from the years of involvement. Today, 
people still stop and visit with Mrs. Hummel and reminisce about the market (Hummel 
Interview). 

About fifteen years ago, another hobbyist, Ray Ferene, got involved when his 
wife suggested that he sell his produce instead of giving them away or throwing them 
out because they went bad. Since Shumway Market was the only public market at the 
time, he rented a stall with several other vendors and proceeded to sell his vegetables 
(Ferene Interview). 

Many individuals were involved with the market over the years; some during the 
good times and others came just to keep the market alive. On numerous occasions, 
Shumway Market's future was in jeopardy of either being torn down or returned to the 
heirs of the donor because of lack of participation. Bertha Adamson was one of those 
individuals who came to keep the market alive. She was considered one of the diehard 
vendors that came, rain or shine, to sell her homemade goods. She kept coming even 



•,.■' 



Wenger - 1 2 

after the market slowed down, which lasted from the late 1950s to the early 1980s 
(Zander, R. Interview). 

In 1972, Mrs. Gwen Thompson, daughter of Bertha Adamson, stepped in where 
her mother left off and vowed to sell her baked goods year-round just to keep the 
market open ("Woman..."). At age 72, Mrs. Thompson drove from Clinton, Wisconsin 
every Saturday morning to sell her baked goods. Other vendors joined her in selling 
items such as rhubarb, mustard green, onions, and various types of flowers. The 
young, and not so young, joined in to save the market ("Woman..."). 

In spite of the efforts made by the vendors to keep the market open and generate 
enough income to support the building, it still was not enough. In the early 1980s, the 
City decided to rent the building to bring in additional income. On June 25, 1982, 
Christine Wagner, d/b/a Wagner's Hair Studio and Arnold's License Service signed 
leases with the City of Rockford to rent the building. In each lease, it stated that they 
would provide for "custodial services" ensuring the upkeep of the building. In providing 
such duties, it would reduce their respective rents (Rockford Area...). 

Chris Wagner maintained her business in the Shumway Market building until the 
late 1980s. She was a mother of a three-year-old and had many surrogate 
grandparents to keep her daughter busy. As a beautician, Saturdays were also her 
busy days, just like the farmers. Her daughter spent the morning with the farmers, while 
mom was busy with her clients. Ms. Wagner was always appreciative of their 
generosity. To this day, she keeps in touch with many of the people who have been 
part of Shumway Market (Wagner Interview). 



',-.' 



Wenger - 1 3 

This last effort made by the City to generate more income by renting out the 
building still was not enough to make ends meet. In August 1986, it was brought to the 
City of Rockford's attention that the Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau 
wanted to renovate Shumway Market building and use it for the Rockford Area Arts 
Council. They had a state grant for $1 20,000 that they wanted to use to restore the 
building to its original state. The City agreed to lease the building to the Bureau and to 
allow them to renovate the building ("Big Art Market..."). 

When the renovations were completed, some changes did come to the building 
and the market. There was no longer space for a market master, the weigh station was 
long gone, and no confectionary, barbershop or beauty parlor existed. The public 
restrooms were removed, but the building had a new facelift. To the naked eye 
everything seemed the same, but underneath all had changed. 

The familiar faces of vendors like Gwen Thompson, Dick Zander, and Ray 
Ferene are no longer seen at Shumway Market. About eighteen months ago, Ray 
Ferene decided to relocate to another market. He was the only vendor left at Shumway; 
the others had left over the years because of declining business. The need for 
homegrown produce was still there, but not at Shumway Market (Ferene Interview). 

During the last five to six years, three other public markets opened in Rockford. 
These sites were more attractive to the vendors and drew them away from downtown. 
The first one opened at Edgebrook Shopping Center, second at Colonial Village, and 
the most recent market opened at the North End Commons located at Auburn and Main 
Streets. The opening of these public markets provided three very attractive areas that 



■^ 



Wenger - 14 

would draw more clientele and provide easier accessibility and parking (Ferene 
Interview). 

When visiting these new markets, one can renew friendships with "Shumway" 
vendors, such as Dick Zander. Son to one of the original farmers of Shumway Market, 
he, to this day, is still involved in the farmers market. He farms the family land on 
Montague Road and the public can still buy produce at his farm or from the market 
(Zander, F. Interview). Mr. Ray Ferene and many newcomers are also in attendance at 
the market. 

The seed has been planted and nurtured for almost 100 years. Through 
changing times, economically and in growth, styles and needs, Shumway Market has 
survived. Today, the building is the same, but the market itself is feeling a hardship, the 
last vendor has left. Mr. Shumway provided the farmers with a place to sell their wares; 
it is up to the farmers, as well as the community, whether the legacy will continue or 
fade. 




(Rockford Area Arts Council) 



Wenger - 1 5 




(Rockford Area Arts Council) 




(Rockford Area Arts Council) 



Wenger - 1 6 




1 * ' J 




(Rockford Area Arts Council) 




(Rockford Area Arts Council) 



-,.-' 



Wenger - 1 7 



Load Of Tokio-Bound Scrap Weighs In 










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(Rockford Area Arts Council) 



Wenger - 1 8 

Works Cited 
"Big Art Market Festival Premiers." Rockford Register Star. Rockfordiana Files. 

Rockford Public Library. 1 June 1988. 
"Chronological History of Rockford." @2002 American Online, Inc. n.d. Online. 

<http://www:Rockfordillinois.com/chronst.htm>. 22 September 2002. 
Ferene, Ray. Personal Interview. 12 October 2002. 
"Fewer Sales, Higher Hurt Costs Once-Thronged Shumway Market." Rockford Register 

Star. Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 9 August 1952. 
Gabor S. Boritt. "Civil War." World Book Online Americas Edition, n.d. Online. 

<http://www.worldbookonline.com/ar7/na/ar/co/ar1 17060. htm>. 29 September 

2002. 
"Grandson of Market Donor Opposed to Parking Plans." Rockford Morning Star. 

Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 3 November 1963. 
Gregory, Virginia. Rockford Historic Preservation Commission. City of Rockford. 7 July 

1997. 
Hummel, Blanch. Personal Interview. 19 October 2002. 
"Market is Page from Past." Rockford Morning Star. Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public 

Library. 31 May 1965. 
"Master's Deed." City of Rockford. 3 May 1904. 
Molyneaux, John L. "History of Rockford." Gorockford.com. 1997. Online. 

<http://www.gorockford.com/area/history2.cfm>. 29 September 2002. 
Snyder, William J. "Birth of a City." Sinnissippi Saga: A History of Rockford and 



Wenger - 1 9 

Winnebago County, Illinois. Ed. Hal C. Nelson. Shumway Market Archway Entrance 

(1905). 1968:64. 
"No Title." Rockford Register Star. Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 8 July 

1945. 
"R.H. Shumway Dies of Injuries." Rockford Morning Star. Microfilm. Rockford Public 

Library. 1 January 1926. 
Rockford Area Arts Council. File on Shumway Market, n.d. 
"Roster of Company A 67 th Illinois Infantry." Rootsweb.com. n.d. Online. 

<http://www.rootsweb.com/-ilcivilw/r100/067-a-in.htm>. 29 September 2002. 
"Roster of Company G 153rd Illinois Infantry." Rootsweb.com. n.d. Online. 

<http://www.rootsweb.com/-ilcivilw/r155/153-g-in.htm>. 29 September 2002. 
"Shumway Gives Public Market." Rockford Morning Star. Rockfordiana Files. Rockford 

Public Library. 3 May 1904. 
"Shumway Market Birth Recalled by Local Pastor." Rockford Morning Star. 

Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 3 November 1963. 
"Shumway Market Has Appealed to Many Tastes Since 1905." Rockford Register Star. 

Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 29 July 1983. 
Shumway Market Retention is Voted." Rockford Morning Star. Rockfordiana Files. 

Rockford Public Library. 3 December 1963. 
"Shumway Mart Had Fine Trade This Morning." Rockford Register Republic. 

Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 22 August 1914. 
Shumway, Roland H. "City Council of the City of Rockford." 2 May 1904. 



Wenger - 20 

"The Shumway Scene: Produce Market Is in a Resurgence." Rockford Register Star. 

Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 13 July 1987. 
"Townsfolk Are Hungry for Old Open Marketplace." Rockford Morning Star. 

Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 29 August 1972. 
"U.S. Wars - Gone but not forgotten." The Veterans Gazette, n.d. Online. 

http:///www.theveteransgazette. com/wars. html. 
Wagner, Christine. Personal Interview. 19 October 2002. 
"Where City Folk Meet the Producer." Rockford Morning Star. Rockfordiana Files, n.d. 

(1940's). 
"Who Pays the Biggest Taxes." Rockford Morning Star. Microfilm. Rockford Public 

Library. 8 July 1904. 
"Woman Continues a Saturday Tradition." Rockford Register Star. Rockfordiana Files. 

Rockford Public Library. 2 July 1978. 
Zander, Frank. Personal Interview. 13 October 2002. 
Zander, Richard. Personal Interview. 13 October 2002. 



Singer "Mental 'Wealth 

Center 

"Opening New doors " 

-. ®y -- 

Tamara Vock^ 

(EngCish Composition 

<RgckVa(fy Community Coffege 

Tatfof2002 




v> 



Vock- l 
Opening New Doors 

Tucked behind locked doors, it did not matter whether they were mentally ill, 
mentally retarded, or deemed not normal to society, they were put away. State mental 
hospitals all over the nation were packed like sardines. Society shunned these people and 
put them in hospitals that were under-staffed and hidden away from public knowledge. 
These hospitals became dumping grounds for persons the community felt were too 
difficult to care for (Reidy). 

In 1960, Illinois was one of the first states to create the Department of Mental 
Health. Its plan was to develop alternatives to long-term institutionalization and over 
crowding at state mental hospitals ("Linking ..."). Governor Otto Kerner petitioned a 
$160 million bond before the voters of Illinois to build six centers throughout Illinois. 
Voters approved the bond (Reidy). Dr. Francis J. Gentry, Director of the Illinois 
Department of Mental Health, wanted to move patients out of hospitals and back into the 
communities. They came up with concept of developing zone centers, where early 
diagnosis and treatment would return the patients back to the community. Somehow they 
hoped this would bring about a totally new understanding of mental illness 
("Linking..."); (Reidy). 

In 1961, Sterling, Freeport and Rockford were chosen as potential sites. Rockford 
was chosen because it had just become the second largest populated city in Illinois 
(Kellog 523). Locating the zone in Rockford was a big boost in the economy and 
eventually offered jobs to 300 people. It would cost $7.3 million dollars to build this zone 
center (R.R. No Title). This zone serviced nine counties in northern Illinois, including Jo 



.-' 



Vock- 2 

Davies, Stephenson, Winnebago, Boone, Carroll, Whiteside, Lee, and Bureau ("Singer 
Mental ..."). 

Two sites in Rockford were chosen, one on Ogilby Rd. near Montague Rd. and 
one north of Boylan High School on North Main St. The site on Ogliby Rd. had no access 
to fire protection, city water, was very isolated and was also in the flight pattern for 
landings and take-offs for the Rockford Airport. This site was too costly and too noisy for 
the new center. The North Main St. site had access to transportation, water, and fire 
protection. Even though the Ogliby site was only $900 an acre, the state opted to pay 
$2700 an acre for the North Main St. site. In the long run it would be cheaper. Where 
farmland once laid, 100 acres was purchased from Stanley B. Valiulis and Warren N. 
Glenny both of Rockford ("100 Acre Tract ...") 

In 1963, the clinic was named for H. Douglas Singer, an Englishman who in 1908 
founded the Illinois State Psychopathic Institute. He directed the institute and 1920 
became a professor of psychiatry at the University of Illinois College of Medicine and 
continued in that capacity until his death in 1940 ("Name Clinic ..."). 

Also in 1963, architectural firms in Rockford, Bradley & Bradley, Hubbard, 
Hyland, Rassmussen & Smith shared in designing the facility ("Two Architect Firms 
. . ."). This facility was designed like no other in the state of Illinois. It was built in a Y- 
shape multi-story building with inner-connected corridors and glass-enclosed hallways so 
that every part of the facility was be accessible from within. There were eight units with 
bed space for 280 clients, a central dietary, medical and surgical unit, boiler room, an 
auditorium, administration, and a swimming pool. There were no walls around Singer, as 



• t J 



Vock- 3 

with the past state hospitals having high walls making them hard to get in and even 
harder to get out ("Singer Lacks . .."). 

However, in 1963, bids were too high at $8.7 million, $1.5 million over the 
allotted amount proposed to build the institution. Modifications were made, including 
incorporating office space, deleting the swimming pool and downsizing client capacity 
space to 220 ("High Bids ...") 

In 1964, new bids were put in and accepted. General contracting went to Paschen 
Contractors, Inc. of Chicago for $3,912,200. Rockford Industries had the low bid on the 
heating contract at $1,380,370. Cecil B. Wood, Inc. was the lowest bidder on the 
electrical phase at $434,037. Pipe covering went to Sprinkmann and Sons, Peoria at 
$129,193. Ventilating went to R.H. Bishop Co. from Champaign at $430, 072. Plumbing 
at $659,690 went to The Nuy-Way Contracting Corp. from Chicago. Food service bid 
went to Illinois Range Com., Mount Prospect for $88,747. This time bids totaled 
$6,550,000, well below the appropriated funds of $7,300,000 ("Mental Clinic ..."). 

In November of 1964, ground was broken and on October 10, 1966 the doors 
opened. Singer is erected into the side of a sloping hill, a strong brick building. Facing 
the front of the facility is a multi-level building connected by inner-corridors. These 
corridors connect to two other multi-level buildings in a triangular shape. Extending from 
each of these buildings are glass-enclosed hallways that lead to a total of eight units for 
the clients ("States New . . ."). 

On October 10, 1966, Singer opened and served patients with mental disabilities 
and the developmentally disabled, patients with mental retardation. Singer could now 
help reduce the over population at state hospitals and form a partnership with the 



Vock- 4 

community to work together to balance inpatient and outpatient care. Singer could now 
keep patients closer to home and to their families. It began with thirty beds. Fifteen were 
used for temporary hospitalization and fifteen for transferring clients from state mental 
hospitals ("States New ..."). 

The only way a person could be admitted to Singer, then and now, was through 
referrals. Jane Addams Mental Health Center in Freeport serves clients from JoDavies 
and Stephenson Counties. Janet Wattles Mental Health in Rockford, serves clients from 
Winnebago and Boone Counties. Ben Gordon Mental Health Center in Dekalb serves 
people in Dekalb Counties. Sinnissippi Mental Health Center in Dixon serves patients 
from Ogle, Lee, Whiteside and Carroll Counties. These centers also provide outpatient 
treatment to the patients from these counties ("Application . . ."). 

In 1968, Singer opened its doors to expand service to the young. This program 
was available to children and adolescents between the ages of 6 and 17. These patients 
were of either sex and so severely disturbed they required hospitalization. These clients 
were referred by school counselors, teachers or parents. The plan was to teach troubled 
youths how to get along in society. By the end of the year, 75% of the treated were 
returned to the community. In 2001, this program changed to adolescents for troubled 
clients from ages 13 to 17 years of age ("Singer Unlocks ...") 

In 1976, Singer opened a unit for alcoholics. This unit was a "drying out" 
program followed by in-patient care at the center or referral to an out-patient care 
network involving Alcoholics Anonymous seminars or halfway houses. This unit was 
phased out in 1977 and taken over by AL-Care and Roscrance ("Singer Opens . . ."). 



Vock- 5 

In 1983, Dixon Developmental Center closed in Dixon, Illinois. Singer opened 
two more units for the developmentally disabled. These individuals consisted of mild, 
moderately, severely, and profoundly retarded, some being ambulatory and some wheel 
chair bound ("Application ..."). In 2002 the developmentally disabled units were phased 
out because Singer was the only dual facility in Illinois. A Dual facility was no longer 
deemed affordable (Langford Interview"). The developmentally disabled were sent to 
community homes and other state facilities that house the developmentally disabled. 

Today, there are three Adult Psychiatric Units left at Singer. Two units are short- 
term care units and one is used for more long- term care. Singer is also back-up to 26 
more counties in Illinois because Governor Ryan made budget cuts and closed Zellar 
Mental Health Center in Peoria, Illinois. Services provided within include activity staff 
which run rehabilitation groups like 12-step programs, medication management classes, 
leisure time at the game room, music volleyball, and cookouts. There is also a client 
library, educational programs and volunteers for church programs. There are medical 
doctors, psychiatrists, RN's, LPN's, lab technicians, pharmacy, psychologists, dietary, 
maintenance, social workers, housekeeping, medical records/ administrative services and 
direct care technicians ("Application ..."). Today there are approximately 175 people 
employed at Singer. 

In 2001, approximately 800 clients were served at Singer. Because admissions are 
up and Singer is now back-up to 26 other counties in Illinois, it is projected that by the 
end of 2002 Singer will have provided services for over 1000 clients (Langford, 
Interview). In January of 2003 the adolescents unit is scheduled to close and another unit 
for the mentally disabled is supposed to open. 



Vock- 6 

With the growing need for services for the mentally ill, it does not matter if cuts 
are made in budgets, services transferred to other facilities or closing of facilities 
throughout Illinois. The need for all the services Singer has provided will never go away! 



Works Cited 
"1 st Singer Unit Opens October 10 th ." Rockford Register Star . 20 September 1966. 

Rockfordianna Files. Rockford Public Library. 
"100 Acre Tract Near River Bluff is Chosen." Rockford Register Star . 13 April 1962. 

Rockfordianna Files. Rockford Public Library. 
"Application for Permit for all Long-term Care and Chronic Disease Facilities." H. 

Douglas Singer Mental Health Center. No date. 
Courtyard Area in the Middle of the Facility. Photographer unknown. No date. 
Front Entrance to Singer Mental Health Center. Photographer Unknown. No Date. 
H. Douglas Singer Center Zone. Beloit Daily News . 2 October 1974. 

Rockfordianna files. Rockford PublicLibrary. 
"High Bids Delay Building of Clinic." Rockford Register Star . 12 October 1963. 

Rockfordianna Files. Rockford Public Library. 
Kellog, Warren. "Chronological History ..." Sinnissippi Saga. Ed. Hal Nelson. 

Winnebago County Illinois Sesquesentenial Committie. 1968 : 523. 
Langford, Robert. Personal interview. 23 October 2002. 
"Linking Yesterday with Today." Pamphlet. Deanna L. Comptom et. Al. 1971. 
Map of Singer Mental Health Center. No Author. No Date. 
"Mental Clinic Bids Below Cost Estimate." Rockford Register Star . 16 September 1964. 

Rockfordianna Files. Rockford Public Library. 
"Name Clinic here for Pioneer Medic." Rockford Register Star . 13 March 1963. 

Rockfordianna Files. Rockford Public Library. 
Reidy, John P. "Zone Mental Health Centers." Pamphlet. 1964. 



"Singer Lacks Hospital Look." Rockford Register Star . 8 December 1965. 

Rockfordianna Files. Rockford Public Library. 
"Singer Mental Clinic Rising from Dust of Farm Fields." Rockford Register Republic . 

19 November 1964. Rockfordianna Files. Rockford Public Library. 
"States New Singer Center Here Opens." Rockford Register Star . 17 October 1966. 

Rockfordianna Files. Rockford Public Library. 
"Singer Opens Unit for Alcoholics." Rockford Register Star . 10 October 1969. 

Rockfordianna Files. Rockford Public Library. 
"Singer Unlocks New World for Disturbed Children." Rockford Register Star . 

17 October 1966. Rockfordianna Files. Rockford Public Library. 
"Two Architect Firms Named for Clinic." Rockford Register Star . 5 May 1962. 

Rocfordianna Files. Rockford Public Library. 



VISITING HOURS 

MONDAY - FRIDAY 6 PM to 9 PM : 

SATURDAY - SUNDAY - HOLIDAY 11 AM- 

CAS- Children and Adolescent Services 



DSA- South Birchwoo 



. Auditorium, Gymnasium. 
..... Activity Therapy, 

Dist, 205. Classrooms 
Courtside Inn 



Dietary," Stores 
Engineering-^ 
Delivery Dock 



Workshop 




APS- Unit 2 

APS- Unit 1 

3 



Administration 
Personnel 
Security 
Information 
.Staff Development 
Computer Training Genter 



APS- Unit 3 



A- Hawthorne 
B* Community Hall 
C- Locust Hall 
D- BJrchwood Hall y 
F-MndenHall / 
C- Sycamore Hall ' 
H-WWow Cottage 
• K- Workshop 



APS" Adult Psychiatric Services 
CAS= Children and Adolescent Services 
DSA- Developmental Services for Adul** 



jj. Douglas 8Inger 

„ itri Health & Developmental Centers 
Mental "^ 402 N< m \ n Street 

Rockford, IL61103 (815-9877096). 



■ North - 



t1-*+t-t"-tY\r*ri 




Nothing is better than a time at Spencer Park. 

David Kays 
English Composition, Rock Valley College 



Fall 2002 




Kays-1 

David Kays 

English 101 Section NC 

1 1 December 2002 

The Historical Spencer Park 

Spencer Park has been preserved to help save the history of what happened in 
Boone County. The land has gone through many changes since it has had people using it. 
The park has had a substantial change of what it is used for from the beginning to present 
day. 

The land that is known as Spencer Park today is located in Boone County, on the 
west side of Belvidere. It is located of North Appleton Road, on the right hand side, 
when heading south. It is located on the north side of the Kishwaukee River on the right 
side of the road. 

The land that today is known as Spencer Park has gone through many purposes. 
All of the purposes of the park play a big role in the history of Boone County. It covers 
the county when it was first explored in 1835, when it used to be the site of the Boone 
County Fair, and finally when it became land of the Boone County Conservation District 
( Boone County Then and Now 6). 

In 1835, the first settlers came into Boone County looking for a place to reside. 
While walking down the Kishwaukee River, the settlers noticed a group of wigwams. 
These wigwams belonged to a group of Pottawattomie Indians. These Indians were the 
first settlers in Boone County. Not long after the white settlers came into Boone County, 
the Indians were forced out of the area. They happened to have their base or group 
headquarters on the north side of the Kishwaukee, which is exactly where Spencer Park is 
located. Due to the Indians living there, today the county has an Autumn Pioneer 



Kays-2 

Festival, which is dedicated to the Indians and the settlers that came in 1835. The Indians 
played a major role in the land becoming what it has become today (66). 

For the next 25 years, Boone County white people started to settle in the region. 
A pair of the settlers was Frieda and Vincent Spencer. They purchased land on the west 
side of what is now Appleton Road. The county's population was growing and there was 
a need of entertainment for the citizens of Boone County. Upon the deaths of the 
Spencers, the land was for sale. In 1867, the Fairgrounds Board of Boone County 
purchased the land for the new site of the Boone County Fair (98). 

Why would they want the fair held in that location? At the time, the population 
was all the way around this area so it was a prime location for the fair. The fact that the 
land sold for only $1200 and for the amount of land available was also another important 
issue. So, the fair was held there (Gustafson Interview). 

The fair had a half-mile racetrack, livestock showing area, and many other 
attractions. The most memorable parts of the fair were the sideshows. They had weird 
names for the sideshows so they could draw in more people. The names included The 
Fat Lady, The Bearded Lady, and The Shell Game. These sideshows were very 
humorous. They built 28 buildings on the land for the accommodations of what they 
needed for the fair. They had a bar that sold alcohol and other beverages and the special 
feature was the five-cent shots of whiskey. They had many buildings made for the farm 
animals of the fair. They were built for the protection of the animals from the weather 
and for storage areas of the things needed for the animals, like feed and so on. There 
were also buildings that were for people to eat with a band of some sort playing music in 
the background (Gustafson Interview). Out of the 28 buildings built, only two of them 






,-' 



Kays-3 

remain today. The land was starting to be too small for the number of entries for the 
people who wanted to show at the fair. So, in 1963, the fair was moved to its present 
location (Gustafson Interview). 

After the fair left this land, it was used for art shows that were held on Sundays. 
Then, in 1968, the county wanted another form of entertainment. In 1968, after Art Show 
Sunday, a series of concerts were held at the former location of the fair. By 1976, the 
county's population was on the rise very quickly and surrounding land was starting to 
become owned and developed heavily. Spencers land was still not developed and there 
was something being planned that made the land what it is today (Gustafson Interview). 

In 1976, the Boone County Conservation District (BCCD) was formed to help 
conserve some of the important land in Boone County. At the time of the formation, 
Roger Gustafson was named the executive director of the BCCD. In earlier years he 
hoped that the land would not get sold, so he could help form a conservation district to 
help him get the land that was owned by the Spencers. The land that the Spencers owned 
was donated to the District in remembrance of the Spencers. Once they received the 
land, they decided to make it the headquarters of the BCCD. Today, Spencer Park is 
much larger due to the buying of nearby land from other people. They bought five other 
sections of land that was connected to the land they had received. In all, the land that is 
now known as Spencer Park consists of 380 acres. Included in the land is one of the most 
toxic dumps in the region (Gustafson Interview). 

Spencer Park has changed since the Boone County Fair left the land. The land 
has many uses to it where anyone can have fun. The park has gone through many 
changes, but can still be enjoyed by a wide variety of people today. 



Kays-4 

In 1976, there were 28 buildings on the land and a half-mile racetrack. There 
were also a few gravel roads in the area that connected certain parts of the fair. Roger 
Gustafson was faced with a lot of questions at the get go. He had to figure out exactly 
what he was going to do with the land. He also had to figure out what people wanted 
done with the land since it was there for the public (Gustafson Interview). 

He decided to start by working with what the fair left him. Roger was all by 
himself. He had a meeting with all the board members and came up with an agreement 
that what he wanted to do was fine with them. Since they were low on money, he 
decided to sell as much as he could. Around the racetrack was a wooden fence. He 
decided to put an ad in a flier to see if anyone would buy it. A few days later, a man 
came by to pick up the wood and they were supposed to take it all for 200 dollars. Roger 
said, "Of course, the damn man brought a chain saw and only took the two-by-twelves 
and left the damn wooden posts there. So, I had to take out the posts by myself and it 
was a pain in the rear" (Gustafson Interview). 

After he was done with the racetrack, he concentrated on the 28 buildings. He 
decided to keep five out of the 28 buildings there and got rid of all the others. He decided 
to keep what he called the Rec Hall, Pavilion, Quonset Hut, Quonset Hut Barn, and the 
Pit Barn. He figured that these buildings he could use for certain things that he had in 
mind (Gustafson Interview). 

Then, he decided to turn the racetrack into a road and connect it to the other 
gravel roads that were already there. Today, this is known as the loop, which is straight 
west of the park's entrance. Now there was a road that ventured through the whole park 



Kays-5 

and it was all gravel. For the most part, all the fair stuff was taken care of (Gustafson 
Interview). 

Then he decided to build an office in which all the members could work and have 
meetings. This would be the headquarters of the Boone County Conservation District. 
They made the building to fit their needs and is known as the Administration Building 
today (Gustafson Interview). 

Once he got that out of the way, he had an idea of hiring other workers. That is 
when the BCCD had their own working crew. The crew started and was paid a huge 
amount of nine dollars an hour. They worked 40 hours a week and had some 
opportunities to have overtime. They were hired to help Roger take care of the park. 
With these workers doing the bulk of the work, Roger could spend time in the building 
helping make decisions that would benefit the park in the future (Gustafson Interview). 

Then the board decided to expand the area of their park by seeking out certain 
parts that bordered the land that they already owned. They purchased land in all 
directions, except for the east because that is where the road was. They received the land 
in five parcels because several different people owned certain parts. "Getting the other 
pieces of land was big for the district. It gave us a more diverse area to work with." 
Roger stated (Gustafson Interview). 

Then in 1981, a shop was built to store working materials for the workers. The 
shop consisted of a very small, cubicle-like office that had a desk in it. It had a restroom 
and the main shop floor could hold two vehicles in it. Connected to the shop was a wood 
shop. The wood shop area was big enough to do all the woodworking jobs. Connected 
to the woodworking shop was an area called dry storage. This is where items had to be 



Kays-6 

stored that could not get wet such as cloth tarps used for the festival, and was convenient 
to get at. On the other end of the shop, was a series of bays. This is where the vehicles 
and any other piece of equipment that had to be stored (Gustafson Interview). 

After the shop was built, Spencer Park started to become one of the best in the 
area. They began cutting trails that went way back in the woods for the people who bike 
and hike. These trails allowed people to walk back in the woods and get away from the 
ever-constant hum of the city. The trails that were cut did not involve cutting down 
native trees, but worked around them and cut out the exotic species. They also decided to 
pick out areas of the park that they thought would be perfect to mow. Where they 
mowed, they thought that it would be an excellent idea to add a few picnic tables here 
and there for the people who like to have picnics. With the mowed areas were good 
places to let kids run around playing sports and a whole slue of other things like catching 
bugs (Gustafson Interview). 

On one piece of land there were three old pits that were used for dumpsites. As a 
matter of fact, there are three cars, parts of a crane and all kinds of old, rotten tires in the 
second pit. The pits used to have trucks going into them every second of every day, and 
had filled in with water and were turned into excellent fishing ponds. The first pond 
seems to have brackish water most of the time due to the monstrous hills that surround 
the pond. The pond's average depth is roughly five feet and is full of bull lily pads, and 
coontail. People like to fish this pond for the panfish that get stocked courtesy of the 
National Department of Resources. Plus, this pond is the easiest to get to. This pond also 
holds the ice fishing tournament for little kids every year, sponsored by the Coon Creek 
Casters. They stock the pond with rainbow trout and yellow perch. The best angler, who 



Kays-7 

is the one that catches the most of the two species, is declared the winner (Gustafson 
Interview.) 

The second pond is also a very good place to fish. This pond is just west of the 
first pond and is divided by a narrow stretch of trees and water grasses due to it being 
fairly moist most of the year. This pond is crystal clear and has an average depth of 24 
feet. This is the deepest of the three ponds with spots that reach 45 feet. Channel Catfish 
are stocked in this pond regularly and draw lots of fisherman to catch the extremely tasty 
fish. This pit is the oldest of the pits and is believed to have some of the clearest water 
around for people to see (Kane Interview). 

The third pond is by far the best fishing pond out of the three. This pond is 
located about a mile and a half away from the parking lot. People tend not to fish this 
pond because they are too lazy to get off their duffs and walk. The walk is absolutely 
gorgeous because the wildlife encountered on the walk is incredible. People could 
witness a fox stalking that very plump mouse that has no idea the fox is even there. They 
could also witness the playfulness of two whitetail fawns running around in the tall grass 
just having a blast. The writer is not complaining, for that results in more bites for the 
writer to deal with. This pond is recognized in the state for the number of large bass 
located in this pond. It is ranked third in the state for big bass in ponds that are less than 
two acres in size. There are also a few muskies that patrol these waters and is the only pit 
out of the three to home these vicious fish that can grow to be over sixty inches long. 
This pit also has very good ice fishing. The ponds are a big reason why many people 
come and visit the park (Kane Interview). 



;J 



Kays-8 

Why on earth would a conservation group want to buy a toxic dump? It was one 
of the most toxic dumps in Illinois at one time. They decided to purchase this so it could 
not be used anymore as a dump. This dump was used for all kinds of chemicals, oils, 
fuels, and other toxic substances that could not go in ordinary dumpsites. So, instead of 
letting this continue, the BCCD decided to help out the environment and try to clean it 
up. They pay to have it checked regularly to make sure the toxins are not leaking out and 
causing harm to any wildlife and contaminating wells. Now the site is in much better 
shape than what it was before. The public still cannot use it, but hopefully down the road 
it can be used for a dog running area (Gustafson Interview). 

They created the famous Heritage Gardens for people to see what was grown 
back then from the early settlers. These gardens are very unique in that the BCCD is the 
only facility in this area that does this. They grow all the crops that the settlers did and 
they also take care of and harvest the way they did back then. They also came up with 
the Autumn Pioneer Festival, which is dedicated to the Indians and the very first settlers 
who lived here. Here, you can see the ax-throwing contest, cooking of the buffalo stew, 
and other things that involve with the settlers. The festival is always on the last weekend 
of September and usually has around 4000 visitors (Gustafson Interview). 

Other forms of entertainment were added to the park when it was in its developing 
stage. There were two basketball courts, two baseball diamonds, and one tennis court 
added to provide people with a chance to practice their sports. Spots were cleared for 
prairie plots to show the people what they used to look like. Other than that, not much 
has changed (Gustafson Interview). 



' 



Kays-9 

Today, the land is a conservation practice so nothing can be taken out unless the 
rules allow it. Today, the land is used for all kinds of things. One can reserve the 
pavilion or the rec hall to have parties or family reunions. There are two camps: Camp 
Redtail and Camp Redwing, that teaches kids about nature and how it should be treated. 
Just this year, there was a big article in the paper on how the Belvidere Park and Spencer 
Park were going to be hooked together. Now there is an asphalt bike path that stretches 
across this large area of land. This has brought more people into the park and people 
seem to be more pleased with the new addition to the park (Gustafson Interview). 

The writer has spent a lot of time in the park observing wildlife and fishing. 
Some people call it wasting time, but it is good time spent. Since the writer has been 
working there for the last three years, changes have been going on during the job. 
Another worker by the name of Josh Sage is a regular visitor to the park also. He states, 
"The park has kind of slowed down on its changes but seems to be used more now than it 
has ever been used before" (Sage Interview). 

The park is not perfect and could use a lot of changes to make it better for the 
citizens of the county. In order to accomplish this, the district will need money. Money 
is not easy to find in large amounts to accomplish this feat. The money could be used in 
all different phases of the park and would definitely make it an even better place to spend 
time with people. The money could be used to give the employees a raise in their 
paychecks. The money could also be used to help purchase or replace old equipment that 
is being used at the district right now. Finally, the money could also be used to hire a 
night watchman to look over the park so equipment, buildings, and other things do not 
get vandalized. In all, money would make the park a more enjoyable place to spend time. 



1 



Kays- 10 

Well, now the reader has been shown how the park has been changed and what it 
is like today. People have put their lives into this park and it shows through the park's 
quality. Meanwhile, the park is still serving its purpose and will continue to do so in the 
future. So take some time and head out and teach our younger generations how we 
should help save land that is important so that it does not go down as a factory that takes 
up 22 acres. 



Works Cited 

Boone County Then and Now . Bicentennial Commission Local History #19. 
Pages 6,66,69, and 98. 

Cash, Bill. Personal Interview. October 2002. 

Gustafson, Roger. Personal Interview. September 2002. 

Kane, Dan. Personal Interview. September 2002. 

Neese, Gordon. Personal Interview. September 2002. 

Riffles and Eddies . BCCD Newsletter. September 2002. 

Sage, Josh. Personal Interview. October 2002. 

Statement of Just Compensation, Tract #21 (Spencer Hud contract OS A 05-0270 
(G). October 1981. 



The Times Lounge Now and Then 



Paul Aumock 

English Composition 

Rock Valley College 

Fall 2002 




Paul Aumock 

English 101 

25 November 2002 



327 West Jefferson Street Now and Then 
The Times Lounge, located on the corner of Jefferson and North Church, would 
never be what it is today had it not been for Wilson-Hall Printing. As downtown 
Rockford grew, so did the need for city services and, subsequently, printing companies. 
This was when, in 1 929, two men named Emery Hall and Oscar Wilson decided to build 
themselves a place for their printing company (Wilson Int.). 

The Wilson-Hall Printing Company building was designed and built by an 
architect named Jessie A. Barloga. Jessie contributed significantly to Rockford's 
construction in the last hundred years. West high and the Rockford News Tower owe 
their design to Barloga. Although many companies have moved on from 327 West 
Jefferson, the building functions virtually the same way (Barloga-no page#). 

Hall and Wilson decided to build close to central Rockford because this was 
where most of their business came from. This building was originally designed for seven 
floors, but only four were built due to just having no need for more (Wilson Int.). During 
construction, Hall and Wilson made a deal with the Blackhawk Pontiac Garage, to rent 
the 2 n floor with windows as a car showroom (Wilson Int). The first three floors were 
concrete with steel beams to accommodate the weight for the printing presses and 
vehicles (Scordato Int.). 

Wilson-Hall printing started in 1927 after the building was finished ( Wilson Int.). 
A freight elevator was built to accommodate large loads of paper needed for the 3 rd floor. 
There was a door put in on the third floor so new printing presses could be craned 



2-Aumock 



through (Wilson Int.). The printing company stayed moderately successful for 57 years 
gaining loyal clientele (Scordato Int.). 

"The Black Hawk Pontiac Garage began alongside Wilson-Hall Printing; It did not 
last long," said Dave Wilson (Wilson Int.). "A ramp was originally built to bring Black 
Hawk's cars from the parking garage up to the showroom," explained Dave Wilson 
(Wilson Int.). This writer found no information on what forced them to go out of 
business. 

Emery Hall and Oscar Wilson had little problem regardless of the Great 
Depression that affected most of the country. Originally, the first floor of the building 
was a parking garage, which was below ground level. Blackhawk Pontiac was on the 2" 
floor. The 3 rd floor was for the printing presses and the top floor, the 4 th floor, was used 
for storage (Wilson Int.). 

After the 2 nd floor was a car dealership for a short time, walls were put up over the 
glass to provide privacy for a photographer's studio. Soon after, the 2 nd floor became a 
hippie shop (Wilson Int.). This writer did not find any information in regards to the hippie 
shop or the photographers studio. All these companies either went out of business or left 
when their lease was up. The printing business stayed there on the 3 rd floor during all the 
changes on the 2 nd floor. Wilson-Hall Printing was in operation for 50 years before being 
sold to an employee, Mike Scordato (Wilson Int.). 

"I was hired by Wilson-Hall Printing when I was just 16," said Scordato. MS2 
Graphics is what Mike Scordato renamed Wilson-Hall Printing after he purchased it in 



Aumock-3 

1984. He changed very little using the 4 floor for storage as did Wilson-Hall. The only 
thing mentioned different is that now MS2 offers a mailing service as an extra for its 
printing clients. Wilson-Hall did not offer this service (Scordato Int.). 

Just two years after Mike bought the building in 1984, the Times Lounge moved 
into the second floor. It is still there today. The floor was gutted and renovated. The same 
bar taken from the old location at 308 West Jefferson was put in. It was quite the feat. It 
was pure hardwood extending over thirty feet long. "I cut it into three pieces," said Sam 
Salamone. This was the only way to make the transfer. 

After walking through the first doors to the Lounge there will be some ugly brown 
and orange tiles with nicotine stained windows above it. Beyond the entryway is the 
second set of doors that leads to the bar. This is where a variety of food is ordered. 
Hamburgers, roast beef sandwiches and pizza all can be ordered straight from the bar. To 
the left, facing the pool table there is a dance hall with a juke box that reads CD 
phonograph. This room has colorful neon lighting including reflections from a disco ball. 
Past this room lies a dining hall that seats 50. It is not used so much anymore due to the 
decline of people around the downtown area. Over the years the Times Lounge had a pool 
team, and even today sponsors a dart team. (Salamone Int.). 

As a whole, 327 West Jefferson Street has not changed a whole lot. MS2 still uses 
the 4 th floor for storage just as MS2 did (Scordato Int.). The 3 rd floor is where MS2 
Graphics operates. Sam Salamone leases the 2 nd floor from Mr. Scordato. The 1st floor is 
still a private parking garage. Over the course of eighty years, different owners and 
companies have dawned on 327 West Jefferson Street's door, although the building 
serves the same purpose (Scordato Int.). 




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Works Cited 
"Dartboards Inside. "photograph. Nov. 1 1 2002. Photo by author. 
"Front Door of Printing Press." photograph. Nov. 1 1 2002. Photo by author. 
"Front of Lounge." photograph. Nov. 1 1 2002. Photo by author. 
"Front of 327 West Jefferson." photograph. Nov. 1 1 2002. Photo by author. 
"Inside the Bar." photograph. Nov. 1 1 2002. Photo by author 
"Left Side of 327 West Jefferson." photograph. Nov. 1 1 2002. Photo by author. 
Jessie Barloga (1888-1947): Architectural Styles . Rockford, Illinois. Rockford Art 

Museum. 1988. 
"Printing Press 1." photograph. Nov. 1 1 2002. Photo by author. 
"Printing Press 2." photograph. Nov. 1 1 2002. Photo by author. 
"Printing Press 3." photograph. Nov. 1 1 2002. Photo by author. 
Salomone, Judy. Personal Interveiw. 1 Nov. 2002. 
Salomone, Sam. Personal Interveiw. 1 Nov. 2002. 
Scordato, Mike. Personal Interveiw. 1 Nov. 2002. 

"Times Lounge Dining Hall." photograph. Nov. 1 1 2002. Photo by author. 
Wilson, Dave. Personal Interveiw. 1 Nov. 2002. 



to 'A Ken swjss eon Age MuseuM 

Home of Uke great RoGert H. Tih^er 



By- Destiny Manual* 

GHgCisfi Composition, Jlocii VaCCey CoCCege 

face Semester 2002 



Created in the days of luxurious home buildings, Tinker Swiss Cottage remains as one of the few 
surviving examples of exotic architecture from its era. The cottage, which was created by Robert H. 
Tinker, contains its original furnishings, artifacts, as well as diaries and personal letters of the Tinker 
and Dorr families. The Swiss-style barn that was originally built in 1878 has been constructed as a 
visitor center and is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Through further reading 
many may find that its history of erection is quite interesting. 

Robert H. Tinker was born in Honolulu, on December 1, 1836. His father was a Presbyterian 
Missionary there. After serving in the foreign mission works for ten years, his father decided to 
move the family and return to the States. The family arrived in Lake County, Ohio, in 1841. They 
lived here in the minister's home for the next four years. In 1845, Westfield Chautauqua County, 
N.Y., became their new residence. Here the Tinkers made a permanent home. Robert attended 
Amherst Academy and went on to Amherst College where he received his Bachelors degree (V.A. 
Mortensen, 8). 

In 1854, Robert's father passed away. After his father's passing, Robert found employment at a 
local bank as a bookkeeper to help support his family. While working at the bank, he met William 
Knowlton. Mr. Knowlton was from Rockford, Illinois and was in town visiting his brother who had 
a beautiful mansion in Westfield on the same side of the street that the Tinkers resided. Mr. 
Knowlton and Robert developed a friendship in the short time that he was there. When Knowlton 
returned to Rockford, he wrote Mr. Tinker a letter asking him to come and work for him in Rockford 
where he was a business manager for Mrs. Marry Dorr Manny, widow of the infamous inventor, 
John H. Manny. Robert accepted the offer in a heartbeat. Having no money for transportation, 
Tinker walked from New York to Rockford. It took him several months to reach his destination (8). 



. 



\S 



On August 12, 1856, Tinker finally arrived to Rockford. He immediately began work. He 
started out as a bookkeeper for Mrs. Manny. He succeeded Mr. Knowlton in managing Mrs. 
Manny's business affairs and within a few years he had become Mrs. Manny manager. Working as 
manager for Mrs. Manny required him to broaden his business skills and increase his interaction 
with the public. He soon became interested in many industries and served as president of five major 
companies over the years, including: Rockford Steel & Bolt Works, Rockford Twist Drill & Bit 
Company, Rockford Oatmeal Company, West End Street Car Company, and the second railroad to 
come into Rockford. Outside of that he also served as a member of the Rockford Park District for 
some 12 to 15 years (A.W. Mortensen). 

Aside from his work and involvement with the community, Robert loved to travel and had 
traveled extensively in the past. Mrs. Manny knew this and she told him about a trip that Reverend 
J. H. Vincent was planning around the world. Instantly, he was interested. Mrs. Manny then 
insisted that they ride over and visit with the Reverend. The Reverend liked Robert and was thrilled 
to have Robert as a traveling companion. Neither men had much money, so they went as steer 
passengers on the streamer Glasglow. The trip was taken in 1862-63. Over the nine months they 
had traveled, the two discovered that they had much in common and became good friends (V.A. 
Mortensen, 9). 

Throughout the tour, Tinker made pencil sketches, with his artistic abilities, of places that 
impressed him. While traveling through Switzerland, he became especially fascinated with their 
Swiss chalets. He was so fascinated, that as soon as he returned to Rockford, he purchased over 
twenty acres of land with the determination to recreate the visuals that impressed him. When Mr. 
Knowlton found out about Tinker's quest, he confronted Tinker and said " Say, Bob, what in the 



world are you trying to do down here? Your friends all think you've gone crazy." Tinker's reply 
was " Never mind, I am only trying to build a cottage that will give Rockford a name" (9). 

After two years of planning, Robert set out to begin construction in 1865. Architect George 
Bradley drew the actual layout of the cottage. Tinker hired laborers to take care of the plumbing, 
carpeting and priming. Woodcarvings and paintings were to be done by Tinker himself (Bachelder& 
Anderson, Appendix A). He had the ideal arrangement mapped out in his head for displaying the 
fine furnishings, exquisite silver, china, glass, and the thousands of mementos he collected on his 
travels. He was excited to finally be able to start putting them together (Shull, 4). They worked on 
the cottage for the next several years. Each room was completed one by one. When finished, there 
was a total of 20 plus rooms consisting of: the conservatory, kitchen, sitting room, front hall, parlor, 
library, dining room, butler's pantry, smoking room, upstairs hall, south dressing room, south 
bedroom, north bedroom suite, master bedroom, and the remaining bathrooms. Each room had its 
own unique theme from a different country (Bachelder & Anderson, Appendix A). 

Then, on April 24, 1870, the honorable Robert H. Tinker was married to Mrs. Mary Manny, 
in Rockford. The next day, they left for their honeymoon to the Hawaiian Islands. When they 
returned, they lived in the mansion in the winter months and in the cottage in the summer. At this 
point, the structure of the cottage was complete, but the paintings and murals had not been done yet. 
Tinker continued to work on his murals throughout the summer months. For their convenience, he 
had a suspension bridge built over Kent Creek to connect the two properties. In 1878, Tinker's 
dream home was finally complete. He successfully captured all of his illustrations accurately and 
was pleased with the product (V.A. Mortensen, 10). 

The newly wed Tinkers continued to reside in their mansion in the winter and in the cottage in 
the summer until the mansion was demolished in 1886. Tinker had sold some of the property 



surrounding the cottage and barn. He had sold the property to the Illinois Central Railroad 
Company. This action welcomed change in the area. On August 5, two years later, the first 
passenger train on the Illinois Central line pulled into Rockford. Shortly after the passenger station, 
freight buildings were soon built over the land, more railroad tracks were laid, and other major 
companies soon began production in the surrounding area (10). 

On September 4, 1901, Mr. Tinker's wife Mary Dorr Manny passed away at the cottage. Her 
funeral was held in the cottage parlor. Not having been single for three years, Tinker remarried. He 
married a young lady by the name of Jessie Dorr Hurd, who was his late wife's niece. The two wed 
on March 14,1904 in the presence of her brother Fred E. Dorr and John F. Lundstrom. Within four 
years the couple decided to adopt a child since they were both getting up in age and neither had any 
children. So, in 1908, they adopted a seven-week-old baby boy who they named Theodore Tinker. 
The three remained one big, happy family up until Robert's death in 1924. Tinker passed away on 
his 88 birthday leaving his wife and adopted son with a heritage worthy of preservation (11). 

Before his passing, Robert and Jessie often talked about donating the property to the city of 
Rockford (11). Carrying out a wish long cherished by her late husband, Robert H. Tinker, Mrs. 
Jessie Dorr Tinker drew up a trust agreement with a board of trustees allowing them to take 
ownership of the hundreds of articles of interest and value that had been accumulated by her and her 
husband over the last 75 years. Under the trust agreement, Mrs. Tinker retained use of the articles 
during her life ("Wants Tinker. ..."). An agreement was also made with Mrs. Tinker in which she 
was to get an annuity of 1,800 dollars or 150 dollars every month for the remainder of her life. She 
also had the privilege to remain in the cottage as long as she desired or until her death ("Park 
Board....). 



Then, in 1942, Mrs. Tinker died. With Mr. And Mrs. Tinker both having passed away, the 
Rockford Park District thought it would be best to tear the cottage down because of lack of funds. 
The people of the community were shocked and appalled by this decision. They felt that the cottage 
should be persevered and turned into a museum. One citizen stated, " This has more of an appeal 
than the General Grant's home in Galena. It is a house with 30 rooms, of Swiss style, and well 
constructed. It would be interesting to the Rockford public and would be attractive to tourist" 
("Urge Preservation. . ."). In determination to save the cottage, a group of over thirty persons formed 
a temporary organization and met with the trustees of the cottage, Earnest and Mabel Rastall, at 
Burpee Art Gallery. An executive committee was chosen, with Mayor C. Henry Bloom as chairman, 
to study ways and means of preserving the cottage. Together they managed to preserve it. Tinker 
Swiss Cottage, Inc., was formed to preserve and maintain the historical landmark (V.A. Mortensen, 
11). 

In 1943, the Rockford Park Board gave the Board of Directors of the Tinker Swiss Cottage, Inc., 
a lease to operate the cottage as a museum. After it became open to the public, thousands of people 
came from around the world to view the stunning, Swiss style cottage. Many were impressed and 
surprised by its uniqueness. Along with the many others, the writer recalls her first impression of 
the cottage as being one of the " most memorable" tours of her childhood. She had never seen a 
home with its same uniqueness and so large or with as many rooms as the cottage. Tinker Swiss 
Cottage left such an impression on her that she wanted to have her dream home someday to be 
modeled after it (11). 

Today, Tinker Swiss Cottage remains as an unusual point of interest. It is one of the few 
surviving examples of architecture from its era. More than 99 percent of the items that fill the rooms 
of the cottage belonged to the Tinkers. The cottage contains all its original furnishings, as well as 



personal letters of the members of the Tinker family. Rockford historians have worked hard at 
keeping the Tinker grounds true to their nineteenth century roots. In doing so, this has allowed 
visitors the opportunity to experience an accurate portrait of what life was like for a Midwest family 
in that age and has given the city of Rockford a "name" just as Robert H. Tinker set out to do. 



. ' 



WORKS CITED 

Bachelder, Laura and Chris Anderson. Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum Volunteer Guidebook. 

June 1997. 
Jessie Dorr Hurd. Photographer unknown. TSC Museum. Date unknown. 
Langford, Donna. Personal Interview. September 2002. 
Mary Manny. Photographer unknown. TSC Museum. Date unknown. 
Mortensen, Arden W. Tinker Swiss Cottage . Local History Room; Rockford Public 

Library. No date. No page numbers. 
Mortensen, Viola . Tinker Swiss Cottage . Local History Room; Rockford Public Library. 1976. 

8-11. 
Orput, Mrs. Raymond. Tinker Cottage, Swiss Chalet . Local History Room; Rockford Public 

Library. No date. 27-3 1 . 
" Park Board Buys Tinker Cottage". Star 22 July 1929. Rockfordiana Files; RPL. 
Robert Tinker. Photographer unknown. TSC Museum. Date unknown. 
Shull, Thelma. Tinker Cottage. Rockfordiana Files; RPL. 1979. 4. 
Suspension Bridge. Photographer unknown. TSC Museum. Date unknown. 
Swiss Style Barn. Photographer unknown. TSC Museum. 1873. 

Theodore Tinker at age 73. Photo by Jim Quinn. Star 4 June 1981. Rockfordiana Files; RPL. 
Tinker Gardens Monument. Photographer unknown. TSC Museum. 1900-1904. 
Tinker Swiss Cottage. Photographer unknown. TSC Museum. 1870-1882. 
Tinker Swiss Cottage grounds looking west toward Winnebago Street. Photographer unknown. 

TSC Museum. Date unknown. 



8 



" Urge Preservation of Landmark as Museum". Star 24 July 1942. Rockfordiana Files; RPL. 
" Wants Tinker Cottage Made Into Museum". Star 28 April 1937. Rockfordiana Files; RPL. 








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Heaven 

Michelle Harris 

English Composition, Rock Valley College 

Fall 2002 



Harris- 1 



Heaven 



Heaven exists in a rural community just south of Rockford, Illinois off of Weldon 
Road. Heaven was the nickname given to the Weldon Farm during the early twentieth 
century. Located six miles southwest of the Rockford city limits, the farmstead was 
owned and operated by the prominent family who had settled, cultivated and prospered 
on the land for generations. Underneath the Weldon family's remarkable tale of their 
struggles and triumphs during the years of America's Westward Expansion emerged a 
deep and disturbing scandal revolved around George J. Schweinfurth. George's years in 
Heaven rocked the county and shocked the region. In the short six years he played 
Christ, immoral practices and wild rumors fired the controversy that regrettably defames 
the Weldon Homestead 

Jonathon Weldon, the namesake of the Weldon Farm, was born to Jonathon and 
Sarah Weldon on February 1, 1786. Jonathon was one of two children born into the 
seafaring family from Yarmouth, Massachusetts. At the age of seven Jonathon was 
stricken with a crippling fever that shriveled his legs. Never able to regain the use of his 
legs, Jonathon was confined to a rolling cart and was never able to follow in the family 
footsteps on the sea (Rockford Historical Society). Jonathon' s brother, Asa Werden 
Weldon, took to the seas at age twelve and made captain's rank by the age of twenty-two 
(Rowland 460-461). 

Jonathon, not discouraged by his disability, became an apprentice in Boston, 
Massachusetts to a local tailor. After mastery of this skill, Jonathon moved to Keene, 
New Hampshire and opened his own tailor shop. It was there he met his bride-to-be, 



Harris- 2 

Mary Davis, the niece of Jefferson Davis, the future president of the Confederate Union. 
Mary was also plagued by her own paralyzing handicap during childhood. One morning 
at the age of seven Mary awoke to find that she was unable to use her legs. Mary became 
doomed to use crutches for the duration of her life and had learned to become a 
seamstress. It was said that, "Their occupation and/or common handicap drew them 
together". They were married on October 10, 1819 in Keene, New Hampshire (461). 

From the years 1820 until 1828, four children were born to Jonathan and Mary 
Weldon: Mary Elizabeth born August 17, 1820; Salmon Reigo born December 3, 1823; 
Spencer Swartz born January 26, 1825; and Adeline Amelia born November 26, 1828 
(Hilton and Hilton). All their children were born in Keene, New Hampshire. All of the 
children were fit and healthy; inheriting non of the physical maladies of either parent. 
During these years Jonathon developed back problems from sitting all day long and had 
to give up his occupation as a tailor. "He became a peddler with a wagon and then a 
school teacher after a tavern keeper in Easton, Pennsylvania asked him to take the job and 
keep his unruly son in line" (Rowland 461). The Weldon family moved to Providence, 
Rhode Island where Jonathon became a successful teacher from 1830 until 1834. 

Inspired by the enormous westward migration, the Weldon Family set out from 
Keene, New Hampshire for Ottawa, Illinois on October 6, 1834 (461). The Westward 
Expansion lured many Americans west for many different reasons. First, during the early 
nineteenth century, "The growth of the nation was enormous: population grew from 7.25 
million to more than 23 million from 1812 to 1852 and land available for settlement 
increased by almost the size of Europe" ( Outline of American History 8). From the years 
1816 to 1821 six states were added to the Untied States of America. Illinois, Indiana and 



Harris- 3 

Maine were added as free states, where slavery was prohibited. Mississippi, Alabama 
and Missouri were added as slave states (7). Second, the Indian Removal Act of 1 830 
provided government funds to force Native Americans west of the Mississippi River from 
their native lands. (8) This Trail of Tears opened vast quantities of incredibly fertile soil 
to white American pioneers and farmers. Thirdly, these lands were tremendously cheap 
and easy to acquire. After 1820, land could be purchased from the government for $1.25 
for half a hectare, approximately 100 acres of land. Many Americans began to sever their 
ties with the distinctly European influenced eastern seaboard and ventured westward 
toward independence (7). 

In search of wealth, prosperity and acceptance, the Weldon family embarked on 
their journey in a specially constructed wagon that met the physical limitations of 
Jonathon and Mary. There were no paved roads along the pioneer trails and crossing 
swamplands and mires was tackled with much difficulty. Jonathon was careful to plan 
this journey so that every night the family would be able to stay at one of the many 
taverns and inns along the trail westward (Rockford Historical Society 1). Exactly two 
months after their departure, the Weldons arrived in Chicago, Illinois and then continued 
westward to Ottawa to join friends who had made the westward crossing earlier (Church 
655). 

Jonathon found the Illinois River Bottoms to be exceptionally fertile, so he placed 
a claim and discovered an old abandoned log house near the rapids of the Illinois River 
and the family began to prepare for the long winter months (Rockford Historical Society 
2). The winter of 1834 was well documented as one of the coldest winters that this 
region has ever seen. "Often a cord of wood was piled into the ample fireplace at once, 



Harris- 4 

but the cold pressed so hard that at times it could not be driven back and a block of ice 
placed upon the floor four feet from the fore stick failed to melt." Indians often visited 
the cabin and told stories of the 1779-1780 winter when the snow measured to nine feet 
and much of the wildlife perished to starvation (2). 

The following spring brought some relief to the exhausted family and work was 
begun on the claim. Corn and other vegetables were planted and the fields were fenced 
in. Spencer Swartz, the family's youngest son, fell ill with chills and fever. His parents 
feared that Spencer would succumb to the same malady that disabled them both. The 
fever ran its course through the spring, into summer and finally subsided. Spencer was 
given a clean bill of health (2). During the winter of 1835 - 1836 Jonathon Weldon 
decided that his family had enough of the "prevalence of chills and fevers" and set out to 
explore the valley of the Rock River ("Weldons Built"). 

Finding the Rock River Valley to his liking, Jonathon returned to Ottawa and 
relocated his wife and children and, on May 25, 1836, the Weldon family arrived by 
covered wagon in Rockford (Rockford Historical Society 3). "There were two houses on 
east side of the river and three houses on the west of the river" (Church 655). The 
Weldon family came to Rockford just days after Rockford had been named the official 
Winnebago County seat (Chronological History 2). Not much information is given about 
the Weldon Family from 1836 until 1838, when Captain Asa Werden Weldon, his wife 
Eliza and their child Frances joined his brother Jonathon in the Rock River Valley 
(Rowland 460). 

No information is given to describe the activities until January 29, 1 842, when 
Asa Werden made a claim in southwest Winnebago County of 155.9 acres purchased for 



Harris- 5 

$194.98 cash. Shortly after Asa's purchase, Jonathon staked a claim of his own not far 
from his brother's property. On March 8, 1842, Jonathon purchased two 160- acre plots 
of land for $200 a piece and these tracts of land were located six miles southwest of the 
Rockford city limits in an area known then as the Dells (Public Domain Sales 1981). 

Jonathon' s claim contained a good deal of cedar and pine trees and, with the help 
of his bartering skills and the local sawmill, Jonathon built a log home for his wife and 
children. "The Weldon log house was quite pretentious. It was about 20 feet square and 
a story and a half high and has gables of pine boards and a porch and a boarded and 
shingle roof. The floors were made of oak lumber" ("Weldons Built"). During the first 
growing season in their new home, the Weldon 's were unable to produce any corn 
because the cattle that roamed the prairies destroyed the crop. Beans and turnips were the 
staple food of the family until late fall when they were able to purchase some corn from a 
settler in Byron (Rockford Historical Society 3). 

After establishing a crop, the family began to raise cattle and horses. During the 
harsh winter of 1842 - 1843, the family's cattle nearly starved and the young boys of the 
family gathered wild hay in order to feed the livestock. Then, a severe winter storm 
swept the area of the Dells and the cattle strayed. They were found one week later in a 
neighbor's fields huddled under bluffs barely clinging to life. In hopes to prevent the 
same misfortune the following year, the cattle were turned into a neighbor's field and 
Spencer Swartz went to live at the neighbor's home in order to tend the cattle (3). 

Not wanting to be a farmer, Jonathon Weldon had originally hoped to become a 
teacher in the area, but since there were no schools, he became a teamster instead 
(Rowland 461). Jonathon hauled lumber until the sawmill was built and he hauled flour 



Harris- 6 

until the gristmill was built. He hauled other necessities until the railroad came through 
Rockford. "Jonathon Weldon became a prominent man and leader in the community. Of 
him C.A. Huntington, a former Rockford man wrote in 1886: "Without exception he was 
the most remarkable man I ever knew" (Weldons Built"). 

The Weldon Family became members of the Emmanuel Episcopal Church and 
became dedicated Christians and earnest leaders. On May 1, 1849 Jonathon, Spencer and 
Salmon were nominated as candidates for holy election. Salmon was elected as a 
vestryman and a delegate to the Diocesan convention and Jonathon was elected as a 
delegate to the convention (Emmanuel Episcopal Church 1849). 

Eventually, Jonathon became a teacher at one of the first pioneer schools of the 
county. Having brought a large supply of school books from the east to Ottawa, he had 
them shipped to Rockford. Jonathon began his second teaching career in a one- room 
school house (Rockford Historical Society 3). He taught there for two years and then 
returned to his farming prospects. Later, Jonathon' s son Spencer donated land to the 
school district for the location of a school built in 1905 ("Spencer Weldon" 1934). 

This one-acre donation was made from a purchase that Spencer made from the 
state of Illinois prior to 1 859. Spencer purchased 120 acres of land less than a half of 
mile from his uncle's property (Public Domain Sales 1894). His purchase, paid in cash, 
cost approximately $1.25 per acre. Here, Spencer and his wife, Agnes Kelley of Scotland, 
whom he married on April 26, 1854, made their home. Shortly after the construction of 
their home, Jonathon and Mary Weldon sold their property and moved in at the 3332 S. 
Weldon Road location ("Spencer Weldon" 1923). 



Harris- 7 

The Weldon Family became a powerful force in the creation of the Winnebago 
Township and the Rockford area. They became outstanding citizens and church officials, 
though not always liked. Jonathon became known as "Thousand Legs" because of the 
physical deformity of his legs. Often he was the butt of jokes and cause of stares. One 
night Jonathon was attacked in his home and blindfolded. He feared he was going to be 
hung. Later his friends found him tarred and feathered in the fireplace of the one-room 
school house (Thurston 65). Despite his physical disability, nothing stopped Jonathon 
from fulfilling the pioneer's dream. 

The tides turned on the fortune of the renowned Weldon Family when the 
Emmanuel Episcopal Church decided to relocate its congregation. The church's new 
location was too far away for the Weldon Family to attend and caused much anger and 
hostility among the members of the Weldon Family. The Weldons abandoned their 
positions as church leaders and set their sights on a promising new Christian 
denomination. Eager for acceptance, the Weldon family embraced the local Church of 
Triumphant. Their receipt of the cult-style religious beliefs lead to Heaven's creation and 
to the scandal that rocked a county and a tragic decision that isolated this foremost family 
(Rowley Interview). 

The building blocks of Heaven lay rooted in a small farming community just 
south of the Weldon Farm. In December 1883, Dora Beekman, the founder of the 
Church of Triumphant, passed away. On her deathbed Dora appointed her successor, 
George J. Schweinfurth. Schweinfurth, who was believed to be Jesus Christ's spirit 
reincarnated, took the reigns of the religious sect Mrs. Beekman founded in 1871. This 
small colony of believers quickly expanded under the leadership of George Schweinfurth. 



Harris- 8 

Congregations were established all over the country from Chicago, Illinois; to St. 
Charles, Minnesota; and as far away as Boulder, Colorado. This "False Christ" was 
locally refuted by Rockford citizens as ten times worse than Brigham Young" (Jensen 
1 8). The man who played God and his followers exploded into Rockford's highly 
conservative settlement and rumors and scandals reached as far as the Chicago 
newspapers. 

George J. Schweinfurth was born to German parents in Marion, Ohio in 1853. 
George was revered by his mother as introspective, insightful and a son of true devotion. 
At twelve years old he was praised by a local minister that he possessed a divine 
inspiration and was chosen by God to become a minister. With a fiery passion, George 
became involved with the church. George and his parents relocated to Jackson County, 
Michigan and shortly after the move experienced the most difficult year of his life with 
the death of his mother. During his bereavement George appealed to the Church in 
hopes of direction and betterment of his life. George attended a Methodist seminary and 
impressed his professors with his intelligence and command of the English language, 
although he never spoke English until the age of eleven. In 1 876 with the 
recommendation of a good friend, George was given the authority to preach in the 
Methodist Church. He empowered and motivated many local congregations even though 
he was never ordained as a minister (Jensen 26). 

George slowly began to believe the most evil of sins surmounted from inside the 
church itself. He slowly began to drift away from the Methodist denomination. George 
soon became infatuated with the teachings of Dora Fletcher Beekman, founder of the 
Church Triumphant. Mrs. Beekman claimed to be the second manifestation of Christ. 



Harris- 9 

She claimed midnight voices and angelic lights lead her to inherit the sinless spirit of 
God. George promptly denounced the Methodist religion and began to spread the word 
of the Church Triumphant ("Why Schweinfurth..."). In 1883, when Mrs. Beekman died 
her body was displayed publicly for three days in expectation of her resurrection. When 
Mrs. Beekman did not rise from the dead George assumed her position as head of the 
Church Triumphant (Jensen 26). 

The beliefs of the Church Triumphant can be best described as Christian 
Socialism and George J. Schweinfurth as a Christian Marxist. Their communal lives 
were simple and every action was made for the common good. Believers were to have a 
full understanding of Christ's teachings and carry them out in every day life, especially in 
the relations with their fellow man. The members of the church did not believe in the 
institution of marriage. The Church of Triumphant carried on Sunday services, but not 
like other religious denominations. George gave his sermon with no planning, but with 
the conviction inside himself at that very moment. His sermons were carefully reported 
and then supplied to the other congregations. No member was to seek wealth or power or 
hoard his/her property. 

The church was built from monetary "gifts" from its members, though it was 
believed George kept the finances for himself ("Why Schweinfurth..."). 
"In May of 1888 Spencer Swartz Weldon sold his 800 acre farm to George Schweinfurth 
for $28550" ("A Winnebago Farmer..."). The Weldon farm served as headquarters for 
the church and the center of the communal life. Spencer, his father Jonathon, his five 
sons and one daughter openly embraced this faith and regarded George as Jesus Christ 
Incarnate. "Physically speaking it was not difficult to believe George as an image of 



Harris- 10 

Christ. George's appearance compared to biblical characters including Jesus Christ and 
John the Baptist. George had flowing auburn hair and beard, delicate features and 
piercing brown eyes" ("Jail Bars. .."). With such a deep devotion to this "Messiah" the 
Weldon family willingly sold their land and home to the agrarian commune. "Altogether 
seven Weldons joined the Church of Triumphant by the year 1900" (Winnebago County 
Census, 1900). 

Life in the commune was similar to Quaker or Amish arrangements. Men and 
women slept separately, even the married couples. Men tended to the farming, livestock 
and the heavy manual labor. Women were in charge of cooking, cleaning and child 
raising. The children were schooled on the farm and seldom left the commune. There 
was a church member doctor who lived on the farm who possessed a fully stocked 
pharmacy. The women slept in the home itself and assigned specific tasks. Their rooms 
were decorated according to status. The most revered women in the society dwelled in 
the more lavish rooms. The men were deprived of even the simplest luxuries. Their 
rooms were furnished in the barn and contained bunk-beds and raw wooden furniture. At 
the height of communal society approximately fifty to sixty people were housed on the 
farm. Over $20,000 in additions were financed by George in order to accommodate the 
growing population. Over 246 feet in circumference was added to the main house 
containing 76 new windows ("When Schweinfurth. . ." Northwest News). 

Though a life lead by Christ's teachings in a communal farming society seems 
peaceful, life on the Weldon farm was not always heaven. It was rumored that occupants 
of Heaven were drawn in by an elaborate recruiting scheme. Supposedly, male members 
of the Church Triumphant posed as bible salesman and combed the countryside. They 



Harris- 11 

targeted wealthy, young, attractive women. After impressing the woman and her family 
with his knowledge of the Bible, the traveling salesman would ask if he could return later 
that evening in hopes of engaging in a religious discussion. If the family accepted his 
offer the man would return later that evening. The salesman attempted to awe the young 
woman with his scholarly knowledge and theological awareness, in hopes of catching her 
eye. Once entranced by the salesman's stare, it was said that she lost all knowledge of 
her words and actions. These trances the woman experienced are probably best described 
as hypnotism or raw animal magnetism. Now fully enslaved by the salesman's stare, she 
would steal away with him into the night (McCleneghan 51-60). 

Once she arrived at George J. Schweinfurth's Heaven, the young woman was 
stripped of her possessions including money, jewelry, and clothing. These donations to 
the church were considered tithes. She was then stripped of her given name, dressed in 
communal clothing and presented to "Christ". Supposedly she next announced 
Schweinfurth as the messiah and then was assigned to her tasks (60-68). "This is what 
one occupant said on daily life in Heaven: Schweinfurth expected her to give up her life 
and soul to him with no thoughts, no will, no aspirations of her own, living only to 
execute his will. Assigned kitchen duties, she often worked from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.. 
Meals consisted of bread and vegetables". One outraged woman became the first "fallen 
angel" from Heaven. Mrs. Medora Miller Kinehan, disillusioned, walked away during a 
Schweinfurth absence. She described Schweinfurth as "Satan in sheep's clothing". "She 
said that Schweinfurth entered women's rooms during the day and women entered his 
room at night" (Jensen 26). 



Harris- 12 

This fallen angel described the rites of passage for George's young and attractive 
disciples. The women of the colony could move up in status in the commune. With 
devout service and a Christ-like attitude one could become an angel, most revered by 
commune members and George himself. "To obtain the absolute holiest status in the 
Heaven commune one must complete the 'Garden of Eden' test. For this test it was 
necessary for the potential angel to enter into his presence in the absolute state of nudity. 
The potential angel would lie all night with George and allow him to look upon her and 
bless her. Some women remembered feeling "strange sensations" and then bore red- 
haired children through supposed immaculate conception, but they could not recollect 
any of the activities of the evening" ("Jail Bars"... 2). 

The sex scandal took the region by storm. Stories of illegitimate red-headed 
children filled the neighbor's minds and packed Rockford's churches with infuriated 
parties. "The community had tried to get rid of Schweinfurth the arrant knave in 1 890. 
Incensed by blasphemy and embarrassed by the news coverage, Rockford citizens 
demanded action" ("Jail Bars. . . 2"). The outraged citizens advocated a "tar and feather" 
party organized by a Rockford pastor, although they took no action (26). " In 1 895 three 
female cult members and George Schweinfurth were formally charged with adultery and 
fornication" (Rockford Morning Star, 1895). They, however, were later acquitted of the 
charges when State's Attorney Charles Works said, "I can see no way that Schweinfurth 
can be brought within criminal code" (Jensen 26). 

Rockford area citizens flocked by the hundreds to the Weldon Farm to catch a 
glimpse of these deviants, although cult members attested to the "purity of heart and life". 
"The alleged carryings-on in 'Heaven' both amused and shocked Rockford and the world 



■■■' 



Harris- 13 

for 20 years" (Jensen 25). "These angels were said to have danced around in flesh 
colored tights to entertain the "Messiah" (1976). Rumors of mile- long reception lines 
for the returning Messiah, healings, resurrections, and death filled the countryside 
(Johnson). 

The Church Triumphant and Heaven disbanded sometime in the early 1900s. 
George Schweinfurth stepped down as head of the church and returned the farm to the 
Weldon family. George and his family moved to Rockford where he pursued a career in 
real estate. George later moved to Chicago where he contracted typhoid fever and died 
in 1910 in isolation (Jensen 26). The church itself fell apart almost as quickly as it began. 

No one to this day really knows what went on in those six years at the Weldon 
Farm. The Weldon family themselves over the years have been very reluctant to speak 
about it. The Weldon Farm has been passed down through the generations and to this 
day is owned by a Weldon. Haunted tales fill neighbor's and children's ears like 
Schweinfurth 's rocking chair rocking by itself on Sundays, lights turning on and off by 
themselves and the apparitions of two "angels" appearing on the lawn of the home. As 
they attempted to escape the realms of Heaven, supposedly they were killed at a railroad 
crossing in the process. As punishment for their attempted escape their corpses were 
placed in open caskets for commune observation for one week straight. Other tales of 
children laughing when no children live in the home and head imprints in pillows when 
there is no one on the bed fill the imaginations of local high school students. (Johnson) 
Although there are no horrific tales of grisly death like the Amityville Home, these tales 
of supernatural happening have survived almost a century. 



Harris- 14 

Hidden in the farmlands of rural Winnebago County, Illinois lies an exquisite 
home, whose windows are like eyes to its soul. Encased in centuries- old trees, the 
Weldon Farm still serves its original purpose. Today the Weldon Farm is leased to a 
tenant who makes his living as a dairy farmer. The faded rose color and the contrasting 
white lattice of the house's design remind the onlooker of the significant story the house 
has told. From the prosperity of a wealthy farmer to the scandal that rocked the county to 
the disgrace of an outcast family, the Weldon Farm has proven its historical significance 
in Winnebago County, Illinois. 



Works Cited 

"$8 Per Month Was Good Pay For Teachers: Weldon School Fete Recalls Pioneer 

Education". Rockford Morning Star . Sunday October 5, 1930. 
"A Big Mortgage on Heaven". Rockford Morning Star. Rockfordiana Files, Rockford 

Public Library. February 4, 1891. 
Chronological History . Rockford Historical Society. September 27, 2002 

http://www.rockfordillinois.com/chron.html 
Church, Charles. Past and Present of Winnebago County . 1900. page 655. 
Detailed Weldon Home. Photographer Unknown. Acquired from the Winnebago Public 

Library, Local History Room. No Date. 
Early Winnebago County Home. Photographer Unknown. Acquired from the Rockford 

Register Gazette. January 19, 1915 
Emmanuel Episcopal Church. Rockford, Illinois. May 1, 1849. 
"Geo. J. Schweinfurth Dies From Typhoid Fever". Rockford Daily Register Gazette. 

September 24, 1956. 
George J. Schweinfurth. Artist Unknown. Acquired from Six Years in Heaven , Alex 

McCleneghan. 1894. 
George Schweinfurth. Artist Unknown. Acquired from the Rock Valley Forge . 

April 24, 1974. 
Hilton and Hilton. Middle Creek and Winnebago Cemetery Records . March 1981. 
Illinois History . Illinois State Museum. October 2, 2002. 

http://www.dickshovel.com.ill.html 
"Jail Bars Kept Gay '90s Prophet From the Pearly Gates". Northwest News . 



July 5,1956. 
Jackson, Ernest. 1860 Federal Census: Winnebago County, Illinois. 1983. 
Jackson, Ernest. 1870 Federal Census: Winnebago County, Illinois. 1983. 
Jackson, Ernest. 1880 Federal Census: Winnebago County, Illinois. 1983. 
Jackson, Ernest. 1900 Federal Census: Winnebago County, Illinois. 1983. 
Jackson, Ernest. 1910 Federal Census: Winnebago County, Illinois. 1983. 
Jensen, Peggy. "Heaven's Rake". Rockford Magazine. February 1989; pages 18-26. 
Johnson, Blair. Personal Interview. September 15, 2002. 

McCleneghan, Alex. Six Years in Heaven. Laird & Lee Publishers. Chicago, 1 894. 
Outline of American History- Westward Expansion. October 2, 2002. 

http : //www, dicksho vel . com . i 11 . html 
"Public Domain Sales Land Tract Record Listing". Archives Division: State of Illinois. 

November 20, 1984 
Rockford Historical Society. Old Settler's Corner. "Mr. Spencer Weldon". Nuggets of 

History, Rockford Public Library. No Date. 
Rowland, Katherine. The Pioneers of Winnebago and Boone Counties Who Came 

Before 1841. 1900, pages 460-461. 
Rowley, John. Personal Interview. October 15, 2002. 
"Spencer S. Weldon". Rockford Morning Star . Rockfordiana Files, Rockford Public 

Library. May 12, 1923. 
"Spencer Weldon Called At Ninety Years". Rockford Register Gazette . Local History 

Room, Winnebago Public Library. January 19, 1915. 
Sweeney Chuck. "George J. Schweinfurth: Rockford's False Christ". Rock Valley 



Forge. April 24, 1974, pages 10-11. 
Thurston, John. Reminiscences Sporting and Otherwise of Early Days in Rockford. 1891, 

Pages 64 -65. 
The Weldon Home, Main Entrance. Photographer Unknown. Acquired from the 

Northwest News . No Date. 
The Weldon Home, looking west. Photographer Unknown. Acquired from the 

Winnebago Public Library, Local History Room. No Date. 
"Weldons Built Log Home Near Dells in 1836". Rockford Republic . Rockfordiana Files, 

Rockford Public Library. May 22, 1934. 
"When Schweinfurth Played God". No Author. Northwest News. No Date. 
"Why Schweinfurth Dissolved His Rockford "Heaven"". Rockford Daily Register 

Gazette. Saturday July 14, 1900. 
"A Winnebago Farmer Deeds His $28, 550 Farm to the Cause". Rockford Morning Star . 

Rockfordiana Files, Rockford Public Library. 1888. 



j Early Winnebago County Home 



*&F$fi»?f 



Jr*y»*N*i»*k 



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Jonathan 'Weldon's- log cabin which stood six .miles southwest of Rockford and' a'inile'south'of the 
aesi^^fildfitt; -schools* "Eie-,,pJi:Lure is- fccmva. pencil sketch made.by.SpJpmoniWeldorii.ia: son. of .Jonathan 
:don: 



I 




THF CENTER OF CONTROVERSY-Some people say he claimed to be 
SrlfbShesaid about himself was "I am -hat 1 am ; an am 
biguity guaranteed to be interpreted any number of wa He s George 
J Schweinfurth, a rather distinguished looking chap, and in the 1890s 
ibis name was synonomous with Rockfords. So how come he's been 
writteTout of local accounts of the area's history? Perhaps a few em- 
ErSSS descendants? In high places? One tttag I. ^««~> 
got to know the true story. But no one's talking ^TLI*!, Z 
published on the subject, but it's said someone bought back all the 
copies and destroyed them. 




George Schweinfurth 



t^^^miM i^Tt'T 




The Weldon House 




Weldon House, looking west 




Detailed Weldon House 




"Til Death Do We Meet?" 



Winnebago County Coroner's Office 
Public Safety Building 



420 West State Street 



Rockford, Illinois 61101 



By: Kari A. Allen-Limberg 
Rock Valley College 



English Composition - fall 2002 




ILL 



Dedicated In Loving Memory Of 

Robert A. Allen 

"Poppy" 

November 3, 1917 - November 5, 1982 



Allen-Limberg 



Kari A. Allen-Limberg 
English 101, Section N A- 1 
November 25, 2002 
Archival Essay 



The Winnebago County Coroner's Office investigates an estimated 2,600 - 
2,700 deaths per year. Since Rockford is the second largest city in Illinois, the statistics 
are alarming. Investigations are conducted to determine the actual cause, of death and 
the manor in which they occurred (Canode). 

According to Winnebago County Coroner, Sue Fiduccia, ""Originally the 
coroner's office was located in a funeral parlor at 216 North 6th Street, Rockford, 
Illinois. Some years later, it moved to 400 West State then, in the late "70s, it was 
relocated to the Public Safety Building at 420 West State Street." 

Meanwhile, "The earliest application of forensic medicine had to do with the 
interdiction against suicide, which has been regarded as a crime against the public 
interest since before the birth of Christ" (Fisher). 

"In the tenth century suicide became a crime under the common law in England, 
and in 1 184 the Council of Nimes made the condemnation of suicide part of the canon 
of Roman Catholic Church" (Fisher). 

The historical development of medicolegal investigation in America can be 
clearly traced back to the English coroner system, which had developed in that country 
some 600 years before. Later, the office of the coroner is formally described in 
September, 1 194, the justices in erye were required to provide that three knights and 
one clerk were elected in every county as keepers of the crown. The appointment then 
included the coroner's duties. The term coroner applied to the individual charged 



' 



Allen-Limberg 2 
under this law (Wilson). 

However, before the Public Safety Building was conceived in Rockford, Illinois, 
where the Winnebago County Coroner's Office resides, a demolition took place to 
make room for the up coming construction. 

Some structures included in the destruction included The Leath Furniture 
building at 502 West State, WRRR radio station studios and parking, sheriffs 
department parking, and about twenty second-floor apartments. ("2-Building Public 
Safety Complex Urged"). 

Also, some local important headlines in the news during the early trimester 
consisted of, in January 1973, a federal grant $80,600 had been awarded for the 
establishment of work release program for the Winnebago County prisoners, 
announced by Representative John B. Anderson. ("Jail Work Release Program 
Receives $84,000 Grant"). 

Around the region, America was grieving the loss of many famous people, 
including Coco Chanel, fashion designer, Jim Morrison, lead singer from the Doors, 
and J.C. Penney, the founder of the department store chain (Clifton). 

Back in Rockford, however, on August fifth 1971, a two-building public safety 
complex had been proposed by the Northern Illinois Law Enforcement Commission 
(NILEC). The recommendation had been made in secret letters given to the City 
Council's Urban Renewal Committee. Regional director James B. Peterson gave no 
reason for the secrecy surrounding the proposal. ("2-Building Public Safety Complex 
Urged"). 

Finally, in December 1971, the Public Safety Building made its unofficial debut. 



Allen-Limberg 3 
A model was unveiled for area law enforcement officers who had attended a policy 
appreciation dinner held at the Faust Hotel. ("Public Safety Model Unveiled"). 

During the gestation period for the Public Safety Building and residence of the 
Winnebago County Coroner's Office, numerous obstacles and hurdles had to be over- 
come including the following. 

First of all, the county hoped to put federal revenue funds into the 1973 budget 
releasing other funds for the proposed $8.6 million law enforcement complex. The 
door to this indirect route of funding was closed, however, by Lawrence Woodworm, 
chief of staff of the joint congressional committee on the internal revenue taxation. 
Because of this, there is a provision which applies to both state and local governments 
which says the revenue sharing funds cannot be used directly or indirectly to match 
federal grant ("Safety Building Denied Revenue Sharing Funds"). 

Second, a law dating back to 1915 snagged the building project. "The law, 
which states jails cannot be built "within 200 feet of any building used exclusively for 
school purposes,' must be amended or waived before the $9.7 million project can be 
financed, a joint committee of city and county officials were told Friday."' ("Safety 
Building Project Snagged by Old State Law"). 

In addition, to all the failed triumphs another roadblock hit Rockford square in 
the face. The financing plan, proposed by Winnebago County Board chairman Peter 
Perrecone, called for the city using $800,000 in capital improvement funds and 
$400,000 each year for the next three years to raise the city's $2 million share of the 
construction ("Finance Plan for Proposed Safety Building Still in Limbo"). 

Back to the site's development stage the Northern Illinois Law Enforcement 



Allen-Limberg 4 
Commission (NILEC), Director James B. Peterson, was one of the original people 
suggesting the new site. "NILEC's architectural consultants, Orput and Orput, Inc., 
reportedly looked at blocks north and east of the courthouse before deciding to 
recommend the Leath Furniture and WRRR site ("Public Safety Building Unveiled"). 

In contrast, the entire construction period for the Public Safety Building and 
Winnebago County Coroner's Office stretched roughly six enduring years. Upon the 
initial proposal, which dated back to August 5, 1971, completion did not occur until 
several years later on Monday January 10, 1977 ("PSB Moving Date Set for Jan. 10"). 

A number of construction firms had a piece of the pie developing the Public 
Safety Building site. For example, architectural consultants, Orput and Orput Inc., 
Dore Wrecking Co. of Kawkawlin, Michigan, Jet Excavating Co., and Rockford Black 
Top, were a few to get the multimillion dollar project underway. 

Then came the costs and budgets that had to be worked in. One of the very first 
stated 'Total cost of the project has been estimated at $5 to $6 million, of which about 
$4 million would be paid by the federal government ("2-Building Public Safety 
Complex Urged"). 

Much to everyone's surprise, "Building Bids Hit $9 Million." This hit the headlines 
just months after the low cost of $5-6 million had been estimated. Some of the bids for 
construction companies included the following: $4,993,523 by J. P. Cullen & Son 
Construction, Janesville. WI., for general construction. $497,800 by Gale R. Miller, 
Inc., Rockford, for precast architectural concrete. $74,357 by Jim Michel Building 
Specialties, Milwaukee, WI. for hollow metal work. $176,000 by National Glass Co., 
1925 Kishwaukee St., for aluminum entrances and window framing. $122,679 by 



Allen-Limberg 5 
Ruffalo Decorating Co., Inc., Kenosha, WI., for painting and finishing. $200,580 by 
Lamps Elevator Sales, 3103 Wallin Ave., for elevators. $643,000 by Osbonvs 
Plumbing and Heating, Beloit, WI., 

for plumbing. $700,300 by Bob G. Enity Co., Inc., Horicon, WI., for heating work. 
$157,300 by Honeywell, Inc., Madison WI., for temperature control. $788,800 by 
Johnson Sheet Metal Works, East Moline, for ventilating. And last of all, $634,250 by 
Althoff s Industries, McHenry, for electrical work ("Building Bids Hit $9 Million"). 

By the time the actual structure of the Public safety Building was officially up 
and running, including the Winnebago County Coroner's Office, the costs were 
alarmingly over $12 million dollars. It was over twice the amount of the first proposal. 
("PSB Cost is Nearing $12 Million '). 

Numerous conflicts were encountered during the construction phase. Some of 
these obstacles included the following: "Attorney John F. Pelgen, whose office is at 
518 W. State St., said he won't move until the city reimburses him for approximately 
$7,200 in additional rent he said he will have to pay if he moves." 
("New Safety Building Gets Stumbling Start"). 

Meanwhile, City Engineer, Ronald Heinen, sent Mayor Robert McGaw a memo 
stating the demolition in the 100 block of S. Court and the 500 block of W. State could 
not be completed until January fifthteenth. 

McGaw then told David Lindberg, acting director of the Northern Illinois Law 
Enforcement Commission, that the demolition must be completed by December 1 5th. 
This also meant a quicker demolition would require more men at an increased rate. 
(•'New Safety Building Gets Stumbling Start"). 



Allen-Limberg 6 

Next, came at least two unions to picket the demolition at the Public Safety 
Building site. "Members of the Teamsters Local No. 325 and Laborers Local No. 32 
are both expected to picket this morning. State and Federal laws require contractors 
doing government or federally funded; work to pay their employees the standard wage 
for the city in which the job is located. ("2 Unions Picket Demolition at Public Safety 
Building"). 

"Chabucos and other union officials said they had learned the demolition firm 
was not paying the prevailing wage for Rockford, but had been unable to obtain 
information from the city." ("2 Unions Picket Demolition at Public Safety Site"). 

Moreover, the stumbling blocks did not stop there. Construction had many 
difficulties obtaining sufficient amounts of fuel. Smith Oil agreed to deliver 280 
gallons of diesel to Jet Excavating Co. Equipment authorized form state and federal 
officials ("City Fuel Aid Keys Project). 

However, the Chicago-based wrecking firm began work earlier in the day. One 
hundred gallons of diesel fuel in 50-gallon barrels was delivered and arranged by 
Washburn. The fuel obtained was obtained with the agreement that he would not tell 
who had supplied it and would be replaced within a week ("2 Unions Picket 
Demolition at Public Safety Site). 

In summary, the Public Safety Building was a difficult time-consuming project, 
which had affected city and county officials, construction firms, local businesses, 
single family dwellings, but also the entire Winnebago County as a whole. 

The Winnebago County Coroner's Office has progressed with the times, 
however, it still shares similarities to its past. 



Allen-Limberg 7 

"Back when the office was first constructed in the Public Safety Building, it had 
a very limited amount of space. Now, with recent retirements, a two-office expansion 
and remodeling job is now in the works'* states Winnebago County Chief Deputy 
Coroner Ron Canode. 

In the past, upon entering the coroner's office located in room B-104, it 
possessed an extremely unwelcoming appearance. The surroundings were cold and 
callous. The offices had steel desks, metal filing cabinets, and bulky rotary telephones. 
Currently, the environment has taken on a whole new look. Today, the reception area 
is painted a canary yellow and trimmed with a pastel decorative border. A mauve and 
blue Asian rug warms the floor. The walls embrace an old photo of downtown 
Rockford, patriotic poems, and a host of natures most breath taking scenes. Nestled by 
the secretary's desk is a clear vase with multi-colored marbles and a single Beta Fish 
brightening up the room as he gracefully swims a ballot. 

Meanwhile, the staff has also changed over the years. " In 1979, the staff 
consisted of one Coroner, one Chief Deputy Coroner, one Deputy Coroner, four Part- 
time deputies, one secretary, and six volunteer Coroner's Jury" (Canode). In 2002, 
these figures have changed. "The current staff includes the following: one full-time 
Coroner, one Chief Deputy Coroner, two Designated Investigators, three Deputy 
Coroner's, one secretary, and six-elected Coroner's Jury" (Canode). 

One of the drastic changes with the staff includes the six-person Coroner's Jury. 
"Years ago, when the jury formed, it was based on a volunteer or word of mouth 
selection. Any unnatural or suspicious deaths all the members of the jury would be 
contacted at any time of the day or night and went to the actual death. This may have 



Allen-Limberg 8 
consisted of a crime scene, hospital, or car wreck" (Canode). This at times held up 
crucial investigations when jury members could not be located or perhaps rolled over 
in bed and went back to sleep. 

Presently, Coroner's Jury is selected in much the same way as a jury in a 
courtroom. The team is rotated as needed or suggested. Some of the guidelines 
followed, for instance, members with experience retained are valuable, fresh members 
on occasion for new outlooks, and also, the discretion of the jury pool if more 
individuals are needed or decline coroner's jury. Ms. Fiduccia interviews and makes 
the final decisions. "Now the jury has access to crime scene photos, physical evidence, 
the victim, and all police, coroner's, and pathologist reports" (Canode). They meet in 
the Coroner's Inquest Room located in the basement. This way seems to be much 
more efficient than traveling all over Winnebago County to gather information. 

"Historically, senior members performed training on the job. In those days they 
had no adequate training, schools, or seminars" (Canode). In contrast, today the 
prerequisites are a great deal different. "One must have at least a high school diploma 
or equivalent. Also, have either medical background such as a Paramedic, or 
Emergency Medical Technician, or a Law Enforcement background. Now, the staff 
members attend certified schooling programs, which are consistent nationally, Public 
Agency Training Council, (based out of Indianapolis), and frequent seminars" 
(Canode). 

In recent times money was allotted for training and seminars to keep up with 
current times. Unfortunately, with the harsh reality of the economy, this account has 
almost been completely deleted due to recent steep cuts within the budget. 



Allen-Limberg 9 
Some similarities from the past and present are held sacred in the lower level of 
the coroner's office. First, is the room where the Coroner's inquests are held. The 
cinder block walls have recently been painted a tranquil sky blue and the border has 
been stenciled with a green flowing ivy circling the room. Clinging to the walls 
straight ahead are two framed ocean scenes. In the center of the room sits a long 
rectangular table with several folding chairs surrounding it. To the left, there are some 
more seats lined against the wall. These are for family members whom wish to sit in 
on the inquest. 

Next, is the viewing room. This is where a family member identifies the body. 
On the right side of this awfully compact room is an old black, vinyl sofa. Directly in 
front of the sofa on the opposite side of the room is a large glass picture window with 
light blue drapes hanging on the inside of the pane. There are two switches to the right 
hand side of the glass window. One of the switches is a light; the other opens the 
drapes promptly. As the curtains spread apart, a steel gurney with the corpse is visible 
and surrounding the other three sides are yellow curtains to block the view of the 
others expired. 

Then, there is the laboratory exam room. To the left is the entry to the cooler. "It 
can hold ten bodies comfortably, but in case of a disaster thirty could squeeze in" 
(Canode). On the wall to the right are two lights to examine x-rays with. Close to the 
center of the room is a steel table with several dime-size holes in each of the panels. 
As Mr. Canode explained the lab he jumped up on the exam table and said, "Trust me, 
this is literally clean enough to eat off!" Directly above hangs a digital scale to weigh 
internal organs and tissues. The cabinets hold several instruments crucial in 



Allen-Limberg 10 
performing an autopsy. At the opposite end of the room on the right is an enormous 
scale that the deceased are weighed on while resting on a gurney each weighing 58.5 
pounds. This is subtracted from the digital scale to obtain an accurate weight. If the 
body exceeds 500-600 pounds a hoist with thick heavy chains enables the body to be 
weighed precisely. 

Across from the scale on the other side of the room is an old-fashioned autoclave 
machine. This piece of equipment is used to sterilize instruments and other items that 
could harbor biohazards. 

Primarily, the lower level has not changed much besides a fresh coat of paint, a 
computer, digital scales, and new coroner vehicles. 

In conclusion, there will always be mysterious deaths in the world, but with 
modern technologies and computer databases connecting more of the unknown will be 
solved and put to rest. If it was not for people like Sue Fiduccia, Ron Canode, and a 
host of intelligent wonderful staff, the Winnebago County Coroner's system would not 
function with the expertise and excellence that has assisted this community in so many 
magnificent ways. 



Works Cited 

"2-Building Public Safety Complex Urged/' Rockford Morning Star. 5 August 1971. 

Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 
"2- Building Public Safety Complex Urged. " Photographer unknown. 

Rockford Morning Star. 5 August 1971. Rockfordiana Files. 

Rockford Public Library. 
" 2 Unions to Picket Demolition at Public Safety Site."' Rockford Star. 1 3 December 

1973. Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 
"Building Bids Hit $9 Million." Rockford Register Star. 12 January 1974. 

Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 
Canode, Ron. Winnebago County, Chief Deputy Coroner. Personal interview. 

September 2002. 
Canode, Ron. Winnebago County, Chief Deputy Coroner. Personal interview. 

October 2002. 
"City Agrees on PSB Role." Photographer / Artist unknown. Rockford Star. 

26 October 1973. Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 
"City Fuel Aid Keys Project." Rockford Star. 13 December 1973. 

Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 
Clifton, Daniel. Editor in Chief. Chronicle of the 20th Century. Chronicle 

Publications Inc. Suite 311, 105 South Bedford Road, Mount Kisco, N.Y., 

10549. American Edition. 
"Demolition Date Extended for Public Safety Building Site." Photographer 



unknown. Rockford Star. 22 January 1974. Rockfordiana Files. 

Rockford Public Library. 
"Dignitaries Gathered on the Partially Completed Upper Levels of the Public 

Safety Building for the Building's 1975 'Topping Off Ceremony." 

Photographer unknown. Rockford Star. 1975. 

Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 
"Excavation Begins." Photographer unknown. Rockford Register Republic . 

19 February 1974. Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 
Fiduccia, Sue. Winnebago County Coroner. Personal interview. September 2002. 
Fiduccia, Sue. Winnebago County Coroner. Personal interview. October 2002. 
"Finance Plan for Proposed Safety Building Still in Limbo." Rockford Star. 

28 September 1973. Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 
Fisher S. Russell, Revised by Piatt S. Marvin. " Forensic Sciences in Antiquity." 

History of Forensic Pathology And Related Laboratory Sciences. No date. 
"Future Location." Photographer Scott Fisher. November 2002. 
"Jail Work Release Program Receives $84,000 Grant." Rockford Register Star. 

2 October 1972. Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 
"Model of Proposed Winnebago County Public Safety Building ... 140,000-Square 

Foot Design Proposed." Photo by Joe Snyder . Rockford Register Star. 

16 February 1972. Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 
"New Safety Building Gets Stumbling Start." Rockford Register Republic . 

31 October 1973. Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 
"Preliminary Drawing for the 8.6 Million Public Safety Building ... Plans are now 



Awaiting Written Conformation of Federal Funding/' Photographer unknown. 

Rockford Register Star. 21 August 1972. Rockfordiana Files. 

Rockford Public Library. 
"Present Location." Photographer Scott Fisher. November 2002. 
"Public Agrees on PSB Role/' Photographer unknown. Rockford Star. 

26 October 1973. Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 
"PSB Cost is Nearing $12 Million." Rockford Star. 9 February 1974. 

Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 
"PSB Moving Date Set for Jan. 10" Rockford Star. 8 December 1977. 

Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 
"Public Safety Building Model Unveiled ." Rockford Register Star. 

4 December 1971. Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 
"Public Safety Building Will Go Up Here." Photographer unknown. 

Rockford Republic. 29 August 1972. Rockfordiana Files. 

Rockford Public Library. 
"Safety Building Denied Revenue Sharing Funds." Rockford Star. 12 October 1972. 

Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 
"Safety Building Project Snagged by Old State Law." Rockford Register Star. 

13 January 1973. Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 
"Speeches, Shivering Band Mark Groundbreaking." Photographer unknown. 

Rockford Register Republic. 28 January 1974. 

Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 



"The Shell of What Would Become the Public Safety Building More Than a Year 

Later Was Already Taking Shape in July of 1975." Photographer unknown. 

Rockford Star. July 1975. Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 
"The Public Safety Building, Shortly Before Completion, Rises From Downtown 

Rockford on the West Side. At the Time it was Considered Escape-proof. ,, 

Photographer unknown. Rockford Star. N o date. 
Wilson,E.F. and Fisher, R.S., "The Medical Examiner System in Maryland." 

Md State Med J, 17:15 (December), 1968. 
"Wrecking Firm Fail Again on Deadline." Photographer unknown. Rockford Star. 

29 January 1974. Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 




County of Winnebago 

State of Illinois 

Elizabeth "Sue" Fidi 

Public Safety Building County Cor 

420 W. State Street (81 5) 987! 

Rockford, Illinois 61101 Fax: (815) 987-f 



DEATHS FALLING IN ANY ONE OF THE FOLLOWING CATEGORIES MUST BE REPORTED TO 
THE CORONER OF WINNEBAGO COUNTY: 

1. D.O.A. (DEAD ON ARRIVAL) 

- 2. ALL HOME DEATHS UNLESS A PHYSICIAN IS PRESENT TO MAKE PRONOUNCEMENT OF 

DEATH. 

3. WHEN A PHYSICIAN HAS NOT SEEN THE PATIENT IN THE IMMEDIATE THIRTY (30) DAYS 
PRIOR TO DEATH, FOR THE CONDITION WHICH CAUSED THE DEATH . 

4. ANY DEATH DUE TO OTHER THAN NATURAL CAUSES. 

5. PATIENT'S WHO HAVE BEEN HOSPITALIZED LESS THAN TWENTY FOUR (24) HOURS 

6. ALL CASES UNDER ANESTHESIA (LOCAL OR GENERAL) WHO EXPIRE IN SURGERY, OR 
BEFORE RECOVERY FROM ANESTHESIA, OR IN THE BIRTH ROOM OR IN THE 
CORONARY CARE UNIT, IF NOT RECOVERED FROM ANESTHESIA. 

7. ALL PROCEDURAL DEATHS INCLUDING KIDNEY DIALYSIS, HEART CATHERIZATION, X- 
RAYS, ETC. 

8. ANY SUSPICIOUS DEATH THAT IS UNEXPECTED, SUDDEN OR UNUSUAL. 

9. WHEN ALCOHOL, NARCOTICS, BARBTURATES, TRANQUILIZERS, OR ANY DRUG IS 
INVOLVED (EITHER: ACUTE, CHRONIC, OR COMPLICATIONS OF). 

10. WHERE THERE HAS BEEN ANY TYPE OF INJURY, RECENT OR OLD, WITHIN THE PAST 
TWELVE (12) MONTHS. 

1 1 . ANY PATIENT WHO IS THE WARD OF THE STATE 

12. DEATHS WHICH ARE THE RESULT OF: HANGING, BURNS (NO MATTER HOW SMALL), 
ELECTROCUTION, DROWNING, GUNSHOT, STAB OR CUTTING WOUNDS, LIGHTNING 
(OR SUSPECTED LIGHTNING), TETANUS AND RABIES. 

1 3. POSSIBLE CONTAGIOUS DISEASE WITHIN THE PAST THIRTY (30) DAYS. 

14. STARVATION, PRIVATION, EXPOSURE, OR ANY PUBLIC HEALTH HAZARD. 

15. STILLBIRTHS, UNATTENDED BY A PHYSICIAN, OR ANY UNDIAGNOSED INFANT DEATH. 

16. FEMALES SUSPECTED OF ABORTION, OR DEATH FOLLOWING A THERAPEUTIC 
ABORTION OR RECENT PREGNANCY. 

17. FIREMAN - INVOLVED IN WORKING FIRES, THAT DIE WITHIN THIRTY (30) DAYS OF SAID 
FIRE (BECAUSE OF THE VARIOUS CHEMICALS RELEASED DURING A FIRE, ETC.) 

ANY OF THE ABOVE MUST BE INVESTIGATED 
NOTE: AUTOPSIES ON CORONER'S GASRS, Wll I BF DETERMINED BY THE CORONER OR A 

DEPUTY. 
NOTE: DO NOT PERMIT REMOVAL OF THE BODY FROM THE PREMISES, UNTIL THE CORONER OR 

A DEPUTY HAS BEEN NOTIFIED. 

DATED: JANUARY 2002 ELIZABETH "SUE" FIDUCCIA 

WINNEBAGO COUNTY CORONER 



It is our mission to provide high quality services and promote a safe community for all people In the county. 




County of Winnebago 

State of Illinois 

Elizabeth "Sue" Rduc 

Public Safety Building County Coro 

420 W. State Street (81 5) 987-51 

Rockford, Illinois 61 1 01 Fax: (81 5) 987-5? 



General "Reporting of a Death" Information: 

NOTIFICATION IN CASE OF DEATH BY VIOLENCE OR SUICIDE: 

Any person who discovers the body or acquires the first knowledge of the death of any person 
who died as the result of criminal or other violent means, or by casualty, or by suicide, or 
suddenly when in apparent health, or in any suspicious or unusual manner, shall immediately 
notify the Office of the Coroner of the known facts concerning the time, place, manner and 
circumstances of such death, and of any other information which is required by the Coroner. 

NOTIFICATION BY HOSPITAL 

Any person D.O.A. (Dead on Arrival) at hospitals, these cases are to be reported immediately, 
and no person shall, without the order from the Office of the Coroner, willfully touch, remove, 
disturb the body or disturb the clothing or any article upon or near such body. This includes any 
death which occurs within twenty-four (24) hours after admission. 

NOTIFICATION BY PHYSICIAN IN CASE OF DEATH BY VIOLENCE OR SUICIDE 

When any person dies as a result of criminal or other violent means, or by casualty, or by 
suicide, or suddenly when in apparent health, or in any suspicious or unusual manner, the Physician 
called in attendance shall immediately notify the Office of the Coroner of the known facts concerning the 
time, place, manner and circumstances of such death and if request is made for cremation, the Funeral 
Director called in attendance shall immediately notify the Coroner. 

I. ACCIDENTAL DEATHS (ALL FORMS, INCLUDING DEATH ARISING FROM EMPLOYMENT) 

1 . Anesthetic Accident (Death on the operating table prior to recovery from anesthesia). 

2. Blows or other forms of mechanical violence 

3. Crushed beneath falling object 

4. Bums 

5. Cutting or stabbing 

6. Drowning (actual or suspected) 

7. Electric shock 

8. Explosion 

9. Exposure 

10. Firearms 

1 1 . Fractures of bones (not pathological). Such cases are to be reported even when the 
fracture is not primarily responsible for the death. All hip fractures, if patient dies within 
one (1) year and one (1) month is considered a Coroner's Case and the Coroner must be 
notified. 

12. Falls 

13. Carbon monoxide poisoning (resulting from natural gas, automobile exhaust or other) 

14. Hanging 

15. Heat exhaustion 

16. Insolation (sunstroke) 

17. Poisoning (food poisoning, occupational, or other) 



It Is our mission to provide high quality services and promote a safe community for all people In the county. 



18. Strangulation 

19. Suffocation (foreign object in bronchi, by bed clothing or other means). 

20. Vehicular Accidents (automobile, street car, bus, railroad, motorcycle, bicycle or other) 

II. HOMICIDAL DEATHS 

III. SUICIDAL DEATHS 

IV. ABORTIONS: CRIMINAL OR SELF - INDUCED 

When the manner of death falls within the above classification, such death must be reported to the 
Coroner, even though the survival period subsequent to onset is 12 months. 

V. SUDDEN DEATHS: WHEN IN APPARENT HEALTH OR IN ANY SUSPICIOUS OR UNUSUAL 
MANNER INCLUDING: 

1 . 'Alcoholism 

2. Sudden death on the street, at home, in a public place, at place of employment 

3. Deaths under unknown circumstances, whenever there are no witnesses or where little or 
no information can be elicited concerning the deceased person. Death of this type include 
those persons whose dead bodies are found in the open, in places of temporary shelter, or 
in their home under conditions which after no clues to the cause of death. 

4. Deaths which follow injuries sustained at place of employment whenever the circumstances 
surrounding such injury may ultimately be subject of investigation. Deaths of this 
classification include: 

Caisson Disease (bends), Industrial Infections (Anthrax, Septicemia following wounds 
including gas bacillus infections, tetanus, etc.), silicosis, industrial poisonings (acids, 
alkalies, analine, bensine, carbon monoxide, carbon tetrachloride, cyanogen, lead, nitrous 
fumes, etc.), contusions, abrasions, fractures, bums (flames, chemical or electrical) 
received during employment which in the opinion of the attending physician are sufficiently 
important, either as the cause or contributing factor to the cause of death, to warrant 
certifying them on the death certificate. 

5. All stillborn infants where there is suspicion of illegal interference 

6. Deaths of persons where the attending physician cannot be found, or deaths of persons who 
have not been attended by a physician within thirty (30) days prior to the date of death. 

7. All deaths occurring within twenty four (24) hours of admission to a hospital. 

8. All hip fractures. If the patient dies within one (1) year and one (1) month, will be a Coroner's 
case and the Coroner must be notified. 

9. All deaths of State Institutions and all deaths of Wards of the State in private care facilities 
or in programs funded by th Department of Mental Health and Development Disabilities or 
the Dept. of Children and Family Services, shall be reported to the Coroner of the County 
in which the facility is located. If the Coroner has reason to believe that an investigation is 
needed to determine whether the death was caused by maltreatment or negligent care of 
the Ward of State, the Coroner may conduct a preliminary investigation of the 
circumstances of such death as in- cases of death under circumstances set forth in the 
Illinois Compiled Statutes. 

10. Any deaths which occur with Winnebago County and not at a hospital or nursing home 
facility (at any residence, employer, and / or public facility) will immediately be reported to 
the Coroner. 

VI. CREMATIONS: ALL DEATHS !N WINNEBAGO COUNTY WHERE A CREMATION OF THE 
REMAINS IS TO TAKE PLACE. 



CORONER'S ACT 

ILLINOIS COMPILED STATUTES 

CHAPTER 55. 

LAWS PERTAINING TO THE NOTIFICATION OF THE CORONER AND AUTHORIZATION OF THE 
REMOVAL OF THE DECEASED. 

SECTION 5/3-3020 

CORONER TO BE NOTIFIED - VIOLATION 

Every Law Enforcement Official, Funeral Director, Ambulance Attendant, Hospital Director or 
Administrator or person having custody of the body of a deceased person, where the death is on 
subject to investigation under Section 303013, and any Physician in attendance upon such a 
decedent at the time of the death, shall notify the Coroner PROMPTLY. Any such person failing to 
so notify the Coroner promptly shall be guilty of a Class A Misdemeanor, unless such person has 
reasonable cause to believe that the Coroner had already been so notified. 

SECTION 5/3-3019 

REMOVAL OF BODIES - VIOLATION 

No dead body which may be subject to the terms of the Division, or the personal property of such 
deceased person, shall be handled, moved, disturbed, embalmed or removed from the place of 
death by any person, except with the permission of the Coroner, unless the same shall be necessary 
to protect such body or property from damage or destruction, or unless necessary to protect life, 
safety, or health. Any person knowingly violating the provisions of the Section is guilty of a Class 
A Misdemeanor. 

SECTION 5/3-3017 
CREMATION 

In any death where the remains are to be cremated, it shall be the duty of the Funeral Director or 
person having custody of the dead body to obtain from the Coroner a permit to cremate the body. The 
Coroner's permit to cremate shall be presented to the local registrar in applying for Permit for Disposition 
of Dead Human Body provided for in Section 21 of the Vital Records Act, and the local registrar shall attach 
the Coroner's permit to cremate to the Permit for Disposition of the Dead Human Body which is issued. No 
crematory shall cremate a dead human body unless a Permit for Disposition of Dead Human Body with an 
attached Coroner's Permit to cremate has been furnished to authorize the cremation. 

Please consult the Coroner's Office 

regarding any death about which you have any doubt or question 

Coroner's Office: (81 5) - 987 - 5994 




Preliminary drawing for llio $8.0 million public' safely building- 
1 ... Plans are now awalliiig written eonflrnmUon of federal funding 







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Model of proposed Winnebago County public safety building siotr phoit by jo* sn 

. . . 140,000-square foot building design is proposed 



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.. Artiste conception of proposed city-county public safety building 
... County courthouse on IpH -jith new facility fronting r- "' «' ■ 



on W. State Street 



Demolition date exfen 





Demolition progresses Monday on public safety building site 
. . Wreckers given until Jan. 29 to complete job without penalty 






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Crowd gathers for groundbreaking today of $10.3 million downtown' public safety building 
Politicians were plentiful but the cold soon drove everyone. indoors; building site in background 



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Public safety building 



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EXCAVATION BEGINS - Rockford Black 
Top Construction Co. employes operate 
heavy machinery in excavation for $U:£ 
million city-county public safety buildings 
The excavation began this week and will 
continue until April. Black. Top is being 
paid $247,000 for the work. The 100 block 
of S. Court Street will be closed for the 
next two years while work o n the building 



is in progress. Most of a parking lot to the 
south will be closed to the public because 
of .equipment storage for .construction 
work. The digging here is on the north- 
west lawn of the courthouse. The building 
will be constructed next to the courthouse 
and will span Court Street into the eastern l 
three-quarters of the 500 block of W. Stata 
_Street._ft£ .9 -J 3 :04_;„ .' - ..-- J 




U.S. Rep. John B. Anderson addresses group at safety building groundbreaking 
. . . First shovel of dirt moved despite fact demolition is stili unfinished ^ 



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^^■M^ ia wB ™ l ' R * a ^ 7 « ^rom ^w white dirder being lowered into plac 

the Public Safety Building lor the building s 1975 topping on »jw 



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The Public Safety Building, shortly 
before completion, rises from down- 



town Rockford on the west side. At the 
time, it was considered escap?proof. 




Above, the shell of what would become the Public 
Safety Building more than a year later was. already 
taking shape in July of 1975. 



Present Location 




Future Location 




mffi«Ytti&. COLLEGE LIBRARY 



iimiiii 111 mill ill 



3 9696 10057334 4 



Rock Valley College 



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